Isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles and future directions in diagnosis and therapy

De Sousa, Karina P., Rossi, Izadora, Abdullahi, Mahamed, Ramirez, Marcel Ivan, Stratton, Dan and Inal, Jameel (2022) Isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles and future directions in diagnosis and therapy. Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology, 15(1) (e1835). pp. 1-29. ISSN 1939-0041


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a unique and heterogeneous class of lipid bilayer nanoparticles secreted by most cells. EVs are regarded as important mediators of intercellular communication in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells due to their ability to transfer proteins, lipids and nucleic acids to recipient cells. In addition to their physiological role, EVs are recognized as modulators in pathological processes such as cancer, infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders, providing new potential targets for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. For a complete understanding of EVs as a universal cellular biological system and its translational applications, optimal techniques for their isolation and characterization are required. Here, we review recent progress in those techniques, from isolation methods to characterization techniques. With interest in therapeutic applications of EVs growing, we address fundamental points of EV-related cell biology, such as cellular uptake mechanisms and their biodistribution in tissues as well as challenges to their application as drug carriers or biomarkers for less invasive diagnosis or as immunogens.

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