Isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles and future directions in diagnosis and therapy

Karina P. De Sousa, Izadora Rossi, Mahamed Abdullahi, Marcel Ivan Ramirez, Dan Stratton, Jameel Malhador Inal

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Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a unique and heterogeneous class of lipid bilayer nanoparticles secreted by most cells. EVs are regarded as important mediators of intercellular communication in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells due to their ability to transfer proteins, lipids and nucleic acids to recipient cells. In addition to their physiological role, EVs are recognized as modulators in pathological processes such as cancer, infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders, providing new potential targets for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. For a complete understanding of EVs as a universal cellular biological system and its translational applications, optimal techniques for their isolation and characterization are required. Here, we review recent progress in those techniques, from isolation methods to characterization techniques. With interest in therapeutic applications of EVs growing, we address fundamental points of EV-related cell biology, such as cellular uptake mechanisms and their biodistribution in tissues as well as challenges to their application as drug carriers or biomarkers for less invasive diagnosis or as immunogens. This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > Biosensing Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Infectious Disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1835
Pages (from-to)e1835
Number of pages29
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023


  • Biosensing
  • Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease
  • Nanomedicine for Infectious Disease
  • Advanced Review
  • Advanced Reviews
  • EV analysis
  • EV characterization
  • EV therapeutics
  • extracellular vesicles
  • isolation methods
  • Humans
  • Extracellular Vesicles/metabolism
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Neoplasms/diagnosis


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