Isolation of platelet-derived exosomes from human platelet-rich plasma: biochemical and morphological characterization

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is enriched in molecular messengers with restorative effects on altered tissue environments. Upon activation, platelets release a plethora of growth factors and cytokines, either in free form or encapsulated in exosomes, which have been proven to promote tissue repair and regeneration. Translational research on the potential of exosomes as a safe nanosystem for therapeutic cargo delivery requires standardizing exosome isolation methods along with their molecular and morphological characterization.

With this aim, researchers at Hospital Vithas Vitoria isolated and characterized the exosomes released by human PRP platelets. Western blot analysis revealed that CaCl2-activated platelets (PLT-Exos-Ca2+) released more exosomes than non-activated ones (PLT-Exos). Moreover, PLT-Exos-Ca2+ exhibited a molecular signature that meets the most up-to-date biochemical criteria for platelet-derived exosomes and possessed morphological features typical of exosomes as assessed by transmission electron microscopy. Array analysis of 105 analytes including growth factors and cytokines showed that PLT-Exos-Ca2+ exhibited lower levels of most analytes compared to PLT-Exos, but relatively higher levels of those consistently validated as components of the protein cargo of platelet exosomes. In summary, the present study provides new insights into the molecular composition of human platelet-derived exosomes and validates a method for isolating highly pure platelet exosomes as a basis for future preclinical studies in regenerative medicine and drug delivery.

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Analysis of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors in samples of platelet-poor plasma (PPP), platelet lysate from activated platelet-rich plasma (PRP), exosomes isolated from non-activated platelets (Exo), and exosomes isolated from CaCl2-activated platelets (Exo-Ca2+). 

Saumell-Esnaola M, Diego D, García del Caño G ET AL. (2022) Isolation of Platelet-Derived Exosomes from Human Platelet-Rich Plasma: Biochemical and Morphological Characterization. Int J Mol Sci 23(5), 2861. [article]

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