Extracellular vesicle (EV) is a unified terminology of membrane-enclosed vesicular species ubiquitously secreted by almost every cell type and present in all body fluids. They carry a cargo of lipids, metabolites, nucleic acids and proteins for their clearance from cells as well as for cell-to-cell communications. The exact composition of EVs and their specific functions are not well understood due to the underdevelopment of the separation protocols, especially those from the central nervous system including animal and human brain tissues as well as cerebrospinal fluids, and the low yield of proteins in the separated EVs. To understand their exact molecular composition and their functional roles, development of the reliable protocols for EV separation is necessary.
Boston University School of Medicine researchers report the methods for EV separation from human and mouse unfixed frozen brain tissues by a sucrose step gradient ultracentrifugation method, and from human cerebrospinal fluids by an affinity capture method. The separated EVs were assessed for morphological, biophysical and proteomic properties of separated EVs by nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and labeled and label-free mass-spectroscopy for protein profiling with step-by-step protocols for each assessment.