Evaluation of immune and chemical precipitation methods for plasma exosome isolation

Exosomes are a type of extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted by multiple mammalian cell types and involved in intercellular communication. Numerous studies have explored the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of exosomes. The key challenge is the lack of efficient and standard techniques for isolation and downstream analysis of nanovesicles. Conventional isolation methods, such as ultracentrifugation, precipitation, filtration, chromatography, and immune-affinity-based approaches, rely on specific physical properties or on surface biomarkers. However, any of the existing methods has its limitations. Various parameters, such as efficacy, specificity, labor input, cost and scalability, and standardization options, must be considered for the correct choice of appropriate approach. The isolation of exosomes from biological fluids is especially challenged by the complex nature and variability of these liquids.

Kurchatov Institute researchers present a comparison of five protocols for exosome isolation from human plasma: two chemical affinity precipitation methods (lectin-based purification and SubX technology), immunoaffinity precipitation, and reference ultracentrifugation-based exosome isolation method in two modifications. An approach for the isolation of exosomes based on the phenomenon of binding and aggregation of these particles via clusters of outer membrane phosphate groups in the presence of SubX molecules has been put forward in the present study. The isolated EVs were characterized based upon size, quantity, and protein content.

Cryo-EM images of extracellular vesicles isolated from plasma by SubX reagent

The white arrows point to the vesicles with a double membrane. Scale bars are 100 nm.  

Shtam T, Evtushenko V, Samsonov R, Zabrodskaya Y, Kamyshinsky R, Zabegina L, et al. (2020) Evaluation of immune and chemical precipitation methods for plasma exosome isolation. PLoS ONE 15(11): e0242732. [article]

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