Exosome: A Review of Its Classification, Isolation Techniques, Storage, Diagnostic and Targeted Therapy Applications

Int J Nanomedicine. 2020 Sep 22;15:6917-6934. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S264498. eCollection 2020.


Exosomes are nano-sized small extracellular vesicles secreted by cells, carrying nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and other bioactive substances to play a role in the body's physiological and pathological processes. Compared to synthetic carriers such as liposomes and nanoparticles, the endogeneity and heterogeneity of exosomes give them extensive and unique advantages in the field of disease diagnosis and treatment. However, the storage stability, low yield, low purity, and weak targeting of exosomes limit its clinical application. For this reason, further exploration is needed to optimize the above problems and facilitate future functional studies of exosomes. In this paper, the origin, classification, preparation and characterization, storage stability and applications of exosome delivery system are summarized and discussed by searching a large number of literatures.

Keywords: biomarkers; exosomes; extraction and purification; storage stability; surface modification; targeted drug delivery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryopreservation
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Exosomes* / chemistry
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Exosomes* / transplantation
  • Food
  • Freeze Drying
  • Humans
  • Molecular Biology / methods*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Nucleic Acids / chemistry
  • Nucleic Acids / metabolism
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Nucleic Acids
  • Proteins

Grant support

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81803738).