Exosomes are stable nanovesicles secreted by cells into the circulation. Their reported sizes differ substantially, which likely reflects the difference in the isolation techniques used, the cells that secreted them, and the methods used in their characterization. Researchers at the University of Utah analyzed the influence of the last factor on the measured sizes and shapes of hydrated and desiccated exosomes isolated from the serum of a pancreatic cancer patient and a healthy control. They found that hydrated exosomes are close-to-spherical nanoparticles with a hydrodynamic radius that is substantially larger than the geometric size. For desiccated exosomes, they found that the desiccated shape and sizing are influenced by the manner in which drying occurred. Isotropic desiccation in aerosol preserves the near-spherical shape of the exosomes, whereas drying on a surface likely distorts their shapes and influences the sizing results obtained by techniques that require surface fixation prior to analysis.
Size and shape characterization of hydrated and desiccated exosomes
Chernyshev VS, Rachamadugu R, Tseng YH, Belnap DM, Jia Y, Branch KJ, Butterfield AE, Pease LF 3rd, Bernard PS, Skliar M. (2015) Size and shape characterization of hydrated and desiccated exosomes. Anal Bioanal Chem [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]