Exosomes, molecular cargos secreted by almost all mammalian cells, are considered as promising biomarkers to identify many diseases including cancers. However, the small size of exosomes (30-200 nm) poses serious challenges in their isolation from complex media containing a variety of extracellular vesicles (EVs) of different sizes, especially in small sample volumes. Here researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing present a viscoelasticity-based microfluidic system to directly separate exosomes from cell culture media or serum in a continuous, size-dependent, and label-free manner. Using a small amount of biocompatible polymer as the additive in the media to control the viscoelastic forces exerted on EVs, we are able to achieve a high separation purity (>90%) and recovery (>80%) of exosomes. The proposed technique may serve as a versatile platform to facilitate exosome analyses in diverse biochemical applications.
Field-Free Isolation of Exosomes from Extracellular Vesicles by Microfluidic Viscoelastic Flows
Liu C, Guo J, Tian F, Yang N, Yan F, Ding Y, Wei J, Hu G, Nie G, Sun J. (2017) Field-Free Isolation of Exosomes from Extracellular Vesicles by Microfluidic Viscoelastic Flows. ACS Nano [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]