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Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2010 Apr 15;44(4):307-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bcmd.2010.02.003. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

Isolated microvesicles from peripheral blood and body fluids as observed by scanning electron microscope.

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Laboratory of Clinical Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Microvesicles are sub-micron structures shed from the cell membrane in a final step of the budding process. After being released into the microenvironment they are free to move and carry signaling molecules to distant cells, thereby they represent a communication system within the body. Since all cells shed microvesicles, it can be expected that they will be found in different body fluids. The potential diagnostic value of microvesicles has been suggested, however, a standardized protocol for isolation has not yet been agreed upon. It is unclear what is the content of the isolates and whether the isolated microvesicles were present in vivo or-have they been created within the isolation procedure. To present evidence in this direction, in this work we focus on the visualization of the material obtained by the microvesicle isolation procedure. We present scanning electronic microscope images of microvesicles isolated from blood, ascites, pleural fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, postoperative drainage fluid and chyloid fluid acquired from human and animal patients. Vesicular structures sized from 1microm downto 50nm are present in isolates of all considered body fluids, however, the populations differ in size and shape reflecting also the composition of the corresponding sediments. Isolates of microvesicles contain numerous cells which indicates that methods of isolation and determination of the number of microvesicles in the peripheral blood are to be elaborated and improved.

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