Peripheral signature of altered synaptic integrity in young onset Cannabis Use Disorder: A proteomic study of circulating extracellular vesicles


Background:

Rates of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) are highest amongst young adults. Paucity of brain tissues samples limits the ability to examine the molecular basis of cannabis related neuropathology. Proteomic studies of neuron-derived extracellular vesicles (NDEs) isolated from the biofluids may reveal markers of neuropathology in CUD.


Methods:

NDEs were extracted using ExoSORT, an immunoaffinity method to enrich NDEs from plasma samples from patients with young onset CUD and matched controls. Differential proteomic profiles were explored with Label Free Quantification (LFQ) mass spectrometry. Selected proteins were validated using orthogonal methods.


Results:

A total of 231 (+/- 10) proteins were identified in NDE preparations from CUD and controls of which 28 were differentially abundant between groups. The difference in abundance of properdin (CFP gene) was statistically significant. SHANK1 (SHANK1 gene), an adapter protein at the post-synaptic density, was nominally depleted in the CUD NDE preparations.


Conclusion:

In this pilot study, we noted a decrease in SHANK1 protein, involved in the structural and functional integrity of glutamatergic post-synapse, a potential peripheral signature of CUD neuropathology. The study shows that LFQ mass spectrometry proteomic analysis of NDEs derived from plasma may yield important insights into the synaptic pathology associated with CUD.


Keywords:

Cannabis Use Disorder; Extracellular vesicle; Mass Spectrometry; Proteomics; glutamate synapse.

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