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PLoS One. 2018 Jun 11;13(6):e0198820. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198820. eCollection 2018.

Exosome isolation from distinct biofluids using precipitation and column-based approaches.

Author information

Neuroscience and Signalling Group, Department of Medical Sciences, Institute of Biomedicine (iBiMED), University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.
CEBIMED-Faculty of Health Sciences; University Fernando Pessoa, Porto, Portugal.
Paralab SA, Gondomar, Portugal.
The Discovery CTR, University of Aveiro Campus, Aveiro, Portugal.


The potential of exosomes as biomarker resources for diagnostics, prognostics and even for therapeutics is an area of intense research. Despite the various approaches available, there is no consensus with respect to the best methodology for isolating exosomes and to provide substantial yields with reliable quality. Differential centrifugation is the most commonly used method but it is time-consuming and requires large sample volumes, thus alternative methods are urgently needed. In this study two precipitation-based methods and one column-based approach were compared for exosome isolation from distinct biofluids (serum, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid). Exosome characterization included morphological analyses, determination of particle concentration, stability and exosome preparations' purity, using different complementary approaches such as Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, Electrophoretic Light Scattering, Transmission Electron Microscopy, EXOCET colorimetric assay, protein quantification methods and western blotting. The three commercial kits tested successfully isolated exosomes from the biofluids under study, although ExoS showed the best performance in terms of exosome yield and purity. Data shows that methods other than differential centrifugation can be applied to quickly and efficiently isolate exosomes from reduced biofluid volumes. The possibility to use small volumes is fundamental in the context of translational and clinical research, thus the results here presented contribute significantly in this respect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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