Exosomes are both active in mediating intracellular communication and potentially present a potent cargo of disease biomarkers to an assay. The robust evaluation of exosomal markers could lead to a paradigm shift in clinical analysis and associated care. To date, much of this has been hindered by issues of sample preparation and assay signal-to-noise.
Researchers from the University of Oxford introduce here the use of ultrasensitive electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to quantify both external (tetraspanin) and internal (syntenin) exosome-specific markers. Associated exosome detection limits are 1.9 × 105 particles mL-1 (equivalent to 320 aM or 9500 exosomes in 50 μL) for intact exosomes and 3-5 picomolar for internal exosomal syntenin levels with almost 5 decades of linear dynamic range. Sample preparation can be carried out by simple fine filtering of cell-conditioned medium prior to a non-NTA-determined (i.e., nanoparticle tracking analysis) exosome concentration analysis, lysing, and subsequent internal syntenin quantification. Such concentration-normalized dual-marker analysis can be used to define “analytical zones” in a manner which is then independent of absolute exosome concentration and sample preparation.