Untargeted metabolic profiling of extracellular vesicles of sars-cov-2-infected patients shows presence of potent anti-inflammatory metabolites

Faisal A. Alzahrani, Mohammed Razeeth Shait Mohammed, Saleh Alkarim, Esam I. Azhar, Mohammed A. El-Magd, Yousef Hawsawi, Wesam H. Abdulaal, Abdulaziz Yusuf, Abdulaziz Alhatmi, Raed Albiheyri, Burhan Fakhurji, Bassem Kurdi, Tariq A. Madani, Hassan Alguridi, Roaa S. Alosaimi, Mohammad Imran Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) carry important biomolecules, including metabolites, and contribute to the spread and pathogenesis of some viruses. However, to date, limited data are available on EV metabolite content that might play a crucial role during infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Therefore, this study aimed to perform untargeted metabolomics to identify key metabolites and associated pathways that are present in EVs, isolated from the serum of COVID-19 patients. The results showed the presence of antivirals and antibiotics such as Foscarnet, Indinavir, and lymecycline in EVs from patients treated with these drugs. Moreover, increased levels of anti-inflammatory metabolites such as LysoPS, 7-α,25-Dihydroxycholesterol, and 15-d-PGJ2 were detected in EVs from COVID-19 patients when compared with controls. Further, we found decreased levels of metabolites associated with coagulation, such as thromboxane and elaidic acid, in EVs from COVID-19 patients. These findings suggest that EVs not only carry active drug molecules but also anti-inflammatory metabolites, clearly suggesting that exosomes might play a crucial role in negotiating with heightened inflammation during COVID-19 infection. These preliminary results could also pave the way for the identification of novel metabolites that might act as critical regulators of inflammatory pathways during viral infections.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10467
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 28 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-10-07
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (General Directorate for Research & Innovation Support) (GDRIS) (King Abdulaziz University). This work was conducted through the fasttrack program for COVID-19 Research, Project No. 0067-009-01-20-5. We extend our sincere thanks to both the Infectious Diseases Departments, King Abdulaziz University Hospital and East Jeddah Hospital, for their assistance in collecting patient samples. We extend our gratitude to the Core Metabolomics Facility, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, KAU, and the Central Laboratory of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. We also extend our sincere thanks to the Immunology unit at the King Fahd Center for Medical Research. Additionally, we would like to thank King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Jeddah, for their technical support (IRB approval No: 2020-47). Thanks are also extended to Moulay Mohammed, Faris Arar, Fadwa Al-Otaibi, Noor Bin Zaqer, and Eman Alghmadi for their assistance. Finally, a special thanks goes to the project consultant, Kenneth Witwer.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications


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