Label-free detection of hypoxia-induced extracellular vesicle secretion from MCF-7 cells

Nanoscale extracellular vesicles (EVs) including exosomes (50-150 nm membrane particles) have emerged as promising cancer biomarkers due to the carried genetic information about the parental cells. However the sensitive detection of these vesicles remains a challenge. Here researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology present a label-free electrochemical sensor to measure the EVs secretion levels of hypoxic and normoxic MCF-7 cells. The sensor design includes two consecutive steps; i) Au electrode surface functionalization for anti-CD81 Antibody and ii) EVs capture. The label-free detection of EVs was done via Differential Pulse Voltammetry (DPV) and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS). The working linear range for the sensor was 102-109 EVs/ml with an LOD 77 EVs/mL and 379 EVs/ml for EIS and DPV based detection. A blood-abundant protein, RhD was used for the selectivity test. In order to assess the performance of the biosensor, the level of EVs secretion by the human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line was compared with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA). Designed label-free electrochemical sensors utilized for quantification of EVs secretion enhancement due to CoCl2-induced hypoxia and 1.23 fold increase with respect to normoxic conditions was found.

Experimental steps followed throughout the work


MCF-7 cells were exposed to either CoCl2– induced hypoxic or normoxic conditions. Isolation of EVs were done via ultracentrifugation. Characterization and quantification of EVs were done via NTA and EVs biosensors that are designed to capture CD-81 EVs biomarker via biotinylatd anti-CD81 antibody immobilized through streptavidin-biotin interaction on SAM modified Au SPE surface.

Kilic T, Valinhas ATS, Wall I, Renaud P, Carrara S. (2018) Label-free detection of hypoxia-induced extracellular vesicle secretion from MCF-7 cells. Sci Rep 8(1):9402. [article]

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