A portable device for simple exosome separation from biological samples

Exosomes are membrane-bound nanovesicles secreted by most types of cells, which contain a series of biologically important molecules, such as miRNAs, proteins, and lipids, etc. Emerging evidence show that exosomes can affect the physiological status of cells and are involved in various pathological processes. However, due to their small size and density close to body fluids, it is challenging to separate exosomes from a small volume of biological samples in a simple manner.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a new strategy for isolating circulating exosomes from biological samples in a portable device. This method synergistically integrates chitosan electrostatic-adsorption, scaffold substrates, and shuttle flow to enable the highly effective capture of circulating exosomes with a recovery rate of over 80% within 20 min, which is much better than the performance of traditional ultracentrifugation (5–25%, 3 h). Besides, the isolated exosomes from samples could be lysed in situ and further subjected to RNA concentration detection and protein analysis. In particular, all the necessary procedures for exosome separation could be integrated into a single device without the need for bulky equipment. This established device is portable and easy to operate, which provides a promising platform for the study of exosome biology and clinical diagnosis.

The illustration of exosome isolation from body fluids using EV-sep device

(a) Schematic diagram of the device for exosome isolation from serum and urine of human. In an acidic environment, −NH3+ on chitosan can combine with anionic phosphate groups on phospholipid bilayer of exosomes. (b) The exosomes captured by the EV-sep device can be lysed online for nucleic acids or proteins analysis subsequently.

Chen W, Xie Y, Chang Y, Xu Y, Zhao M, Deng P, Qin J, Li H. (2021) A Portable Device for Simple Exosome Separation from Biological Samples. Micromachines 2(10), 1182. [article]

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