Exosomes are important vehicles of intercellular communication that shape host responses to physiologic, tumorigenic, and pathogenic conditions. The composition and function of exosomes are dynamic and depends on the state and condition of the cellular source. In prior work, we found that semen exosomes (SE) from healthy donors who do not use illicit drugs potently inhibit HIV-1. Following semen donation, specimens are either used immediately or frozen for use at a later time. It has been shown that short-term freezing of semen has no effect on SE-mediated HIV-1 inhibition. However, the effect of illicit drugs and prolonged freezing on SE bioactivity is unknown. Here, we show preservation of SE physical properties, (morphology, concentration, intensity/size) irrespective of illicit drug use or duration of semen freezing. Interestingly, illicit drugs and prolonged freezing decreased the levels of SE-bound CD63/CD9 and acetylcholinesterase activity respectively. Furthermore, we show differential effects of illicit drug use and prolonged freezing on SE-mediated HIV-1 inhibition. Our results highlight the importance of the source of SE and condition of semen storage on SE content and function. In-depth evaluation of donor drug-use and duration of semen storage on SE cargo and bioactivity will advance our understanding of SE composition and function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas