Comparison of Four Purification Methods on Serum Extracellular Vesicle Recovery, Size Distribution, and Proteomics

Proteomes. 2023 Jul 25;11(3):23. doi: 10.3390/proteomes11030023.


In recent decades, the role played by extracellular vesicles in physiological and pathological processes has attracted attention. Extracellular vesicles are released by different types of cells and carry molecules that could become biomarkers for the diagnosis of diseases. Extracellular vesicles are also moldable tools for the controlled release of bioactive substances in clinical and therapeutic applications. However, one of the significant challenges when studying these exciting and versatile vesicles is the purification process, which presents significant difficulties in terms of lack of purity, yield, and reproducibility, reflected in unreliable data. Therefore, our objective in the present study was to compare the proteomic profile of serum-derived EVs purified using ExoQuick™ (Systems Biosciences), Total Isolation Kit (Life Technologies), Ultracentrifugation, and Ultrafiltration. Each technique utilized for purification has shown different concentrations and populations of purified particles. The results showed marked differences in distribution, size, and protein content, demonstrating the need to develop reproducible and reliable protocols to isolate extracellular vesicles for their clinical application.

Keywords: EVs; exosome; extracellular vesicle; mass spectrometry; microvesicle; molecular profiling; proteomics; purification methods.

Grants and funding

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Brazilian Research Councils CNPq, CAPES, and FAPDF.