The biomolecular contents of extracellular vesicles, such as exosomes, have been shown to be crucial in intercellular communication and disease propagation. As a result, there has been a recent surge in the exploration of novel biosensing platforms that can sensitively and specifically detect exosomal content such as proteins and nucleic acids, with a view toward application in diagnostic assays.
Researchers at University College London demonstrate dual-mode and label-free detection of plasma exosomes using an electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (EQCM-D). The platform adopts a direct immunosensing approach to effectively capture exosomes via their surface protein expression of CD63. By combining QCM-D with a tandem in situ electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurement, the researchers are able to demonstrate relationships between mass, viscoelasticity and impedance inducing properties of each functional layer and analyte. In addition to lowering the limit of detection (by a factor of 2-4) to 6.71 × 107 exosome-sized particles (ESP) per mL in 25% v/v serum, the synergy between dissipation and impedance response introduces improved sensing specificity by offering further distinction between soft and rigid analytes, thereby promoting EQCM-D as an important technique for exosome analysis.