Isolation and usage of exosomes in central nervous system diseases

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2024 Mar;30(3):e14677. doi: 10.1111/cns.14677.


Background: Exosomes are vesicles secreted by all types of mammalian cells. They are characterized by a double-layered lipid membrane structure. They serve as carriers for a plethora of signal molecules, including DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids. Their unique capability of effortlessly crossing the blood-brain barrier underscores their critical role in the progression of various neurological disorders. This includes, but is not limited to, diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ischemic stroke. Establishing stable and mature methods for isolating exosomes is a prerequisite for the study of exosomes and their biomedical significance. The extraction technologies of exosomes include differential centrifugation, density gradient centrifugation, size exclusion chromatography, ultrafiltration, polymer coprecipitation, immunoaffinity capture, microfluidic, and so forth. Each extraction technology has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the extraction standards of exosomes have not been unified internationally.

Aims: This review aimed to showcase the recent advancements in exosome isolation techniques and thoroughly compare the advantages and disadvantages of different methods. Furthermore, the significant research progress made in using exosomes for diagnosing and treating central nervous system (CNS) diseases has been emphasized.

Conclusion: The varying isolation methods result in differences in the concentration, purity, and size of exosomes. The efficient separation of exosomes facilitates their widespread application, particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of CNS diseases.

Keywords: biomarker; central nervous system; diagnosis; exosomes; isolation method.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Diseases* / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Diseases* / therapy
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteins