Advances in Biosensors Technology for Detection and Characterization of Extracellular Vesicles

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Nov 17;21(22):7645. doi: 10.3390/s21227645.


Exosomes are extracellular vehicles (EVs) that encapsulate genomic and proteomic material from the cell of origin that can be used as biomarkers for non-invasive disease diagnostics in point of care settings. The efficient and accurate detection, quantification, and molecular profiling of exosomes are crucial for the accurate identification of disease biomarkers. Conventional isolation methods, while well-established, provide the co-purification of proteins and other types of EVs. Exosome purification, characterization, and OMICS analysis are performed separately, which increases the complexity, duration, and cost of the process. Due to these constraints, the point-of-care and personalized analysis of exosomes are limited in clinical settings. Lab-on-a-chip biosensing has enabled the integration of isolation and characterization processes in a single platform. The presented review discusses recent advancements in biosensing technology for the separation and detection of exosomes. Fluorescent, colorimetric, electrochemical, magnetic, and surface plasmon resonance technologies have been developed for the quantification of exosomes in biological fluids. Size-exclusion filtration, immunoaffinity, electroactive, and acoustic-fluid-based technologies were successfully applied for the on-chip isolation of exosomes. The advancement of biosensing technology for the detection of exosomes provides better sensitivity and a reduced signal-to-noise ratio. The key challenge for the integration of clinical settings remains the lack of capabilities for on-chip genomic and proteomic analysis.

Keywords: exosomes; lab-on-a-chip; sensors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Exosomes*
  • Extracellular Vesicles*
  • Proteomics
  • Technology