Technologies and Standardization in Research on Extracellular Vesicles
Nocera, Angela L.
Alli, Sarath Chandra
Ivanov, Alexander R.
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Summary in foreign language
Despite the substantial recent progress made in extracellular vesicle (EV) research, our understanding of the functional and mechanistic biology of EVs and their relevance to specific pathophysiological states remains limited. Detailed characterization of the molecular composition of EVs and EV subpopulations remains a challenge. Alternative, similar, or identical experimental approaches may often lead to substantially different EV profiling results in different laboratories. Standard protocols for specimen procurement, collection, preprocessing, EV isolation, analytical characterization, and data analysis/interpretation need to be developed for specialized applications and analytical workflows, optimized, documented, cross-evaluated by several laboratories, and disseminated to further accelerate progress toward further understanding of EV biology and development of novel EV-based diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are phospholipid bilayer membrane-enclosed structures containing RNAs, proteins, lipids, metabolites, and other molecules, secreted by various cells into physiological fluids. EV-mediated transfer of biomolecules is a critical component of a variety of physiological and pathological processes. Potential applications of EVs in novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies have brought increasing attention. However, EV research remains highly challenging due to the inherently complex biogenesis of EVs and their vast heterogeneity in size, composition, and origin. There is a need for the establishment of standardized methods that address EV heterogeneity and sources of pre-analytical and analytical variability in EV studies. Here, we review technologies developed for EV isolation and characterization and discuss paths toward standardization in EV research.
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