Send to

Choose Destination
Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1740:69-83. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7652-2_7.

Cushioned-Density Gradient Ultracentrifugation (C-DGUC): A Refined and High Performance Method for the Isolation, Characterization, and Use of Exosomes.

Author information

Department of Surgery, University of California & VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Department of Surgery, University of California & VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Exosomes represent one class of extracellular vesicles that are thought to be shed by all cell types. Although the exact nature of exosome biogenesis and function remains incompletely understood, they are increasingly recognized as a source of intercellular communication in health and disease. Recent observations of RNA exchange via donor cell-derived exosomes that exert genetic regulation in recipient cells have led to a boon into exosome research. The excitement and promise of exosomes as a new therapeutic avenue for human pathologies remain limited by challenges associated with their isolation from culture media and biofluids. The introduction of new methodologies to facilitate the isolation of exosomes has simultaneously raised concerns related to the reproducibility of studies describing exosome effector functions. Even high-speed ultracentrifugation, the first and long considered gold standard approach for exosome isolation has recently been noted to be subject to uncontrolled variables that could impact functional readouts of exosome preparations. This chapter describes principles and methods that attempt to overcome such limitations by first concentrating exosomes in a liquid cushion and subsequently resolving them using density gradient ultracentrifugation. Our approach avoids possible complications associated with direct pelleting onto plastic tubes and allows for further purification of exosomes from dense protein aggregates.


Density gradient ultracentrifugation; Exosomes; Flow cytometry; Iodixanol; Nanoparticle tracking analysis

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center