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Circulating microparticles (MPs) are produced as part of normal physiology. Their numbers, origin, and composition change in pathology. Despite this, the normal MP proteome has not yet been characterized with standardized high-resolution methods. We here quantitatively profile the normal MP proteome using nano-LC-MS/MS on an LTQ-Orbitrap with optimized sample collection, preparation, and analysis of 12 different normal samples. Analytical and procedural variation were estimated in triply processed samples analyzed in triplicate from two different donors. Label-free quantitation was validated by the correlation of cytoskeletal protein intensities with MP numbers obtained by flow cytometry. Finally, the validity of using pooled samples was evaluated using overlap protein identification numbers and multivariate data analysis. Using conservative parameters, 536 different unique proteins were quantitated. Of these, 334 (63%) were present in all samples and represent an MP core proteome. Technical triplicates showed <10% variation in intensity within a dynamic range of almost 5 decades. Differences due to variable MP numbers and losses during preparative steps could be normalized using cytoskeletal MP protein intensities. Our results establish a reproducible LC-MS/MS procedure, provide a simple and robust MP preparation method, and yield a baseline MP proteome for future studies of MPs in health and disease.

Original publication




Journal article


J Proteome Res

Publication Date





2154 - 2163


Blood Proteins, Cell-Derived Microparticles, Female, Humans, Linear Models, Male, Principal Component Analysis, Proteome, Proteomics, Reproducibility of Results