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      Size and concentration analyses of extracellular vesicles by nanoparticle tracking analysis: a variation study

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          Current methods for characterisation of extracellular vesicles (EVs) need further standardisation in order to obtain an acceptable level of data comparability. Size and concentration of EVs can be determined by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). However, both the heterogeneity of EVs and the choice of instrument settings may cause an appreciable analytical variation. Intra-assay (within-day, n = 6) and inter-assay (day-to-day, n = 6) variations (coefficient of variation, % CV) of different preparations of EVs and artificial vesicles or beads were determined using two NanoSight NS500 instruments, located at different laboratories. All analyses were performed by the same operator. The effect of applying identical software settings or instrument-optimised settings for each sample type and instrument was also evaluated. Finally, the impact of different operators and the use of two different software versions were investigated. The intra-assay CVs were 1–12% for both EVs and artificial samples, measured on the same instrument. The overall day-to-day variation was similar for both instruments, ranging from 2% to 25%. However, significantly different results were observed between the two instruments using identical software settings. The effect of applying instrument-optimised settings reduced the mismatch between the instruments, resulting in little to no significant divergences. The impact of using different operators and software versions when analysing silica microspheres and microvesicles from monocytes using instrument-optimised settings on the same instrument did not contribute to significant variation compared to the overall day-to-day variation of one operator. Performance differences between two similar NTA instruments may display significant divergences in size and concentration measurements when analysing EVs, depending on applied instrument settings and technical conditions. The importance of developing a streamlined and standardised execution of analysis, as well as monitoring longitudinal variation parameters on both biological and synthetic samples, should be highlighted.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Biogenesis, secretion, and intercellular interactions of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles.

          In the 1980s, exosomes were described as vesicles of endosomal origin secreted from reticulocytes. Interest increased around these extracellular vesicles, as they appeared to participate in several cellular processes. Exosomes bear proteins, lipids, and RNAs, mediating intercellular communication between different cell types in the body, and thus affecting normal and pathological conditions. Only recently, scientists acknowledged the difficulty of separating exosomes from other types of extracellular vesicles, which precludes a clear attribution of a particular function to the different types of secreted vesicles. To shed light into this complex but expanding field of science, this review focuses on the definition of exosomes and other secreted extracellular vesicles. Their biogenesis, their secretion, and their subsequent fate are discussed, as their functions rely on these important processes.
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            Is Open Access

            Minimal experimental requirements for definition of extracellular vesicles and their functions: a position statement from the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles

            Secreted membrane-enclosed vesicles, collectively called extracellular vesicles (EVs), which include exosomes, ectosomes, microvesicles, microparticles, apoptotic bodies and other EV subsets, encompass a very rapidly growing scientific field in biology and medicine. Importantly, it is currently technically challenging to obtain a totally pure EV fraction free from non-vesicular components for functional studies, and therefore there is a need to establish guidelines for analyses of these vesicles and reporting of scientific studies on EV biology. Here, the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) provides researchers with a minimal set of biochemical, biophysical and functional standards that should be used to attribute any specific biological cargo or functions to EVs.
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              Is Open Access

              Standardization of sample collection, isolation and analysis methods in extracellular vesicle research

              The emergence of publications on extracellular RNA (exRNA) and extracellular vesicles (EV) has highlighted the potential of these molecules and vehicles as biomarkers of disease and therapeutic targets. These findings have created a paradigm shift, most prominently in the field of oncology, prompting expanded interest in the field and dedication of funds for EV research. At the same time, understanding of EV subtypes, biogenesis, cargo and mechanisms of shuttling remains incomplete. The techniques that can be harnessed to address the many gaps in our current knowledge were the subject of a special workshop of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) in New York City in October 2012. As part of the “ISEV Research Seminar: Analysis and Function of RNA in Extracellular Vesicles (evRNA)”, 6 round-table discussions were held to provide an evidence-based framework for isolation and analysis of EV, purification and analysis of associated RNA molecules, and molecular engineering of EV for therapeutic intervention. This article arises from the discussion of EV isolation and analysis at that meeting. The conclusions of the round table are supplemented with a review of published materials and our experience. Controversies and outstanding questions are identified that may inform future research and funding priorities. While we emphasize the need for standardization of specimen handling, appropriate normative controls, and isolation and analysis techniques to facilitate comparison of results, we also recognize that continual development and evaluation of techniques will be necessary as new knowledge is amassed. On many points, consensus has not yet been achieved and must be built through the reporting of well-controlled experiments.

                Author and article information

                J Extracell Vesicles
                J Extracell Vesicles
                Journal of Extracellular Vesicles
                Taylor & Francis
                19 July 2017
                : 6
                : 1
                [ a ] The Blood Cell Research Group, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Oslo, Norway
                [ b ] Regional Research Network on Extracellular Vesicles, South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, Norway
                [ c ] Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital - The Norwegian Radium Hospital , Oslo, Norway
                [ d ] Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, University of Oslo , Oslo, Norway
                [ e ] Thermo Fisher Scientific, Life Sciences Solutions , Oslo, Norway
                Author notes
                CONTACT Reidun Øvstebø reidun.ovstebo@ The Blood Cell Research Group, Section for Research, Development and Innovation Department of Medical BiochemistryUniversity Hospital, Ullevål Oslo , Oslo, Norway
                © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Figures: 1, Tables: 6, References: 21, Pages: 12
                The work has received funding from the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.
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