Volume 31 (2008) Issue 6 Pages 1059-1062
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.