Exosomes are one type of membrane vesicles secreted into extracellular space by most types of cells. In addition to performing many biological functions particularly in cell-cell communication, cumulative evidence has suggested that several biological entities in exosomes like proteins and microRNAs are closely associated with the pathogenesis of most human malignancies and they may serve as invaluable biomarkers for disease diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy. This provides a commanding impetus and growing demands for simple, efficient, and affordable techniques to isolate exosomes. Capitalizing on the physicochemical and biochemical properties of exosomes, a number of techniques have been developed for the isolation of exosomes. This article summarizes the advances in exosome isolation techniques with an emphasis on their isolation mechanism, performance, challenges, and prospects.
(A) An electron microscopic image of exosomes and (B) a diagrammatic representation of a medium size exosome.