Umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells (UCMSCs) have shown an ability to modulate the immune system through the secretion of paracrine mediators, such as extracellular vesicles (EVs). However, the culture conditions that UCMSCs are grown in can alter their secretome and thereby affect their immunomodulatory potential. UCMSCs are commonly cultured at 21% O2
in vitro, but recent research is exploring their growth at lower oxygen conditions to emulate circulating oxygen levels in vivo. Additionally, a pro-inflammatory culture environment is known to enhance UCMSC anti-inflammatory potential. Therefore, this paper examined EVs from UCMSCs grown in normal oxygen (21% O2
), low oxygen (5% O2
) and pro-inflammatory conditions to see the impact of culture conditions on the EV profile. EVs were isolated from UCMSC conditioned media and characterised based on size, morphology and surface marker expression. EV protein cargo was analysed using a proximity-based extension assay. Results showed that EVs had a similar size and morphology. Differences were found in EV protein cargo, with pro-inflammatory primed EVs showing an increase in proteins associated with chemotaxis and angiogenesis. This showed that the UCMSC culture environment could alter the EV protein profile and might have downstream implications for their functions in immunomodulation.
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