Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural nanoparticles that mediate intercellular transfer of RNA and proteins and are of great medical interest; serving as novel biomarkers and potential therapeutic agents. However, there is little consensus on the most appropriate method to isolate high-yield and high-purity EVs from various biological fluids. Here, we describe a systematic comparison between two protocols for EV purification: ultrafiltration with subsequent liquid chromatography (UF-LC) and differential ultracentrifugation (UC). A significantly higher EV yield resulted from UF-LC as compared to UC, without affecting vesicle protein composition. Importantly, we provide novel evidence that, in contrast to UC-purified EVs, the biophysical properties of UF-LC-purified EVs are preserved, leading to a different in vivo biodistribution, with less accumulation in lungs. Finally, we show that UF-LC is scalable and adaptable for EV isolation from complex media types such as stem cell media, which is of huge significance for future clinical applications involving EVs.
From the clinical editor: Recent evidence suggests extracellular vesicles (EVs) as another route of cellular communication. These EVs may be utilized for future therapeutics. In this article, the authors compared ultrafiltration with size-exclusion liquid chromatography (UF-LC) and ultra-centrifugation (UC) for EV recovery.
Keywords: Biophysical properties; extracellular vesicles; size-exclusion liquid chromatography; ultracentrifugation; ultrafiltration.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.