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Biotechniques. 2017 Aug 1;63(2):65-71. doi: 10.2144/000114575.

Ion-exchange chromatography purification of extracellular vesicles.

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Institute for the Application of Nuclear Energy, INEP, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.


Despite numerous studies, isolating pure preparations of extracellular vesicles (EVs) has proven challenging. Here, we compared ion-exchange chromatography (IEC) to the widely used sucrose density gradient (SDG) centrifugation method for the purification of EVs. EVs in bulk were isolated from pooled normal human amniotic fluid (AF) by differential centrifugation followed by IEC or sucrose density gradient separation. The purity of the isolated EVs was evaluated by electrophoresis and lectin blotting/immuno blotting to monitor the distribution of total proteins, different EVs markers, and selected N-glycans. Our data showed efficient separation of negatively charged EVs from other differently charged molecules, while comparative profiling of EVs using SDG centrifugation confirmed anion-exchange chromatography is advantageous for EV purification. Finally, although this IEC-based method was validated using AF, the approach should be readily applicable to isolation of EVs from other sources as well.


amniotic fluid; extracellular vesicles; ion-exchange chromatography; isolation; purification; sucrose density gradient

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