Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles that are formed during inward budding of multivesicular bodies and the maturation of endosomes. They are secreted by almost all cell types under normal, pathological, and physiological conditions. They are found in mostly all biological fluids, such as breast milk, blood, urine, and semen. Exosomes are involved in cell-to-cell communication through the biological transfer of lipids, proteins, DNAs, RNAs, mRNAs, and miRNAs. Exosomes are enriched in tetraspanins, enzymes, heat shock proteins, and membrane trafficking proteins. There are numerous techniques that are used to isolate, purify, and characterize exosomes from biofluids. Isolation/purification techniques include ultracentrifugation, filtration, sucrose density gradient centrifugation, etc. Characterization techniques include flow cytometry, electron microscopy, NanoSight tracking analysis, Western blot, etc. These techniques are often used to help principal investigators understand the properties and biological functions of exosomes. However, some of these techniques can be very complicated and challenging, resulting in various drawbacks. Exosomes can be used as potential carriers for therapeutics. Thus, they can serve as biomarkers to diagnosis various diseases that are associated with cancer, genetics, viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc. Therefore, with advances in science and technology, many innovative techniques have been established to exploit the biological properties of exosomes.
Part of the book: Nanomedicines