Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small, membrane-bound particles released by all cell types, including abundant release by platelets. EVs are a topic of increasing interest in the academic and clinical community due to their increasingly recognised and diverse role in normal biology as well as in disease. However, typical analysis methods to characterise EVs released by cultured cells or isolated from whole blood or other body fluids are restricted to bulk analysis of all EVs in a sample. In this review, we discuss the motivation for analysis of individual EVs, as well as discuss three emerging methods for physical and chemical characterisation of individual EVs: nanoparticle tracking analysis, tunable resistive pulse sensing and Raman spectroscopy. We give brief descriptions of the working principles of each technique, along with a review noting the benefits and limitations of each method as applied to detection of single EVs.
Keywords: Extracellular vesicles; analytical methods; exosomes; microvesicles.