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Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Jun;31(6):1059-62.

Exosome-like vesicles with dipeptidyl peptidase IV in human saliva.

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Institute of Medicinal Chemistry, Hoshi University, Tokyo, Japan.


Saliva contains a large number of proteins that participate in the protection of oral tissue. We found, for the first time, small vesicles (30-130 nm in diameter) in human whole saliva. Vesicles from saliva were identified by electron microscopy after isolation by gel-filtration on Sepharose CL-4B. They resemble exosomes, which are vesicles with an endosome-derived limiting membrane that are secreted by a diverse range of cell types. We performed a biochemical characterization of these vesicles by amino acid sequence analysis and Western blot analysis. We found that they contain dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV), galectin-3 and immunoglobulin A, which have potential to influence immune response. The DPP IV in the vesicles was metabolically active in cleaving substance P and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide to release N-terminal dipeptides. Our results demonstrate that human whole saliva contains exosome-like vesicles; they might participate in the catabolism of bioactive peptides and play a regulatory role in local immune defense in the oral cavity.

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