The Growing Importance Of Exosomes Isolation
The increased number of scientists and students interested in doing research in the field of biochemical sciences and genetics led to a significant number of shocking findings which are highly beneficial in most cases. One such recent finding is the significant diagnostic and many other benefits offered by a single exosome structure. One of the most important things to do before analyzing the exosome is to isolate it from cellular debris and other matter.
Here is all you need to understand about exosomes and their isolation methods in order to make yourself familiar with the processing techniques.
What are Exosomes?
Exosomes are basically vesicle-like structures that are excreted invariably by almost all types of cells in existence. That is, they are not restricted for production by an exclusive set of sets, and are commonly produced by all cells irrespective of underlying pathology of normalcy.
These vesicles are filled with the metabolic and excretory fluids and material from these cells, ranging from cytokines, nucleic acids, proteins, growth factors, etc. By passively displacing these substances from their parent cells, one could say that these exosomes form a minor pathway of cellular transport.
Where Do You See Exosomes?
The most common sites to look for exosomes include the following:
- Brocho-alveolar lavage fluid (BAL)
- Bile juice
- Ascitic fluid
- Cystic fluid
- Gastrointesinal lavage fluid, etc.
A common trend observed here is that all of these substances are the by-products generated by several processes involved in the overall functioning and metabolism of the body. This is because the exosomes are released upon their rupture. The rupture of exosomes is brought about by the following mechanism.
The body fluids contain a huge number of MVBs or multiple vesicular bodies. These vesicles tend to be constantly moving around within the cell. Once these vesicles come in contact with the outer membrane, they rupture. Upon rupture of the surrounding membrane, the exosomes are released out into the cytoplasm or the external milieu. This release is done in multiple bursts.
How Are They Important?
The functions of exosomes have not been fully explored yet. However, contradictory to the initial concept, it is now very evident that the exosomes play an important role in almost every vital process involved at the cellular level. Hence, exosomes are now considered to be indispensable for the proper functioning of a life form.
One of the most significant advances regarding the exosome function is the one related to the exosomes derived from tumor cells. It has been brought to notice that the exosomes are significant contributors to the multiplication of tumor cells and also the metastasis of the tumor itself.
Owing to the unexpected discoveries being made left and right, more and more scientists are drawn to take up research in this stream. This increases the need for exosome sampling. Ultimately, the massive demand for exosome samples calls for a huge number of isolated samples. This has caused several biotechnology companies to take up exosomes isolation as their basic process.
One of the main reasons for exosomes isolation being held at such a high position as far as research is concerned is that it has several functions which are yet to be explored. Also, since they are seen in almost all types of cells, it is highly possible that they possess much viable information about stem cells and other genetic associations.
Exosome isolation is a very elaborate and strenuous process when performed manually or in a personal scientific laboratory. Hence it is highly efficient to make use of isolated samples prepared beforehand.
There are several methods that are being followed by such manufacturers for the isolation and processing of exosome samples. A few important techniques of exosome isolation are as follows.
- Ultra-centrifugation based techniques: Using multiple cycles of centrifugation done in a continuous series like progression
- Size-based isolation methods: This is synonymous with ultra-filtration and uses a nanomembrane to separate out different-sized materials.
- Immunoaffinity capture-based techniques: This method primarily uses the proteins and biological matter present on the exosome to segregate it accordingly.
- Exosome precipitation: Here, the solubility, dispersibility, and other physical properties of the overall compound are altered, promoting the separation of exosomes isolation as a precipitate.
- Microfluid-based separation techniques.
To wrap things up, one can safely say that the importance of exosomes continues to fascinate mankind on a regular basis. Hence the field of exosome research holds great potential in the future of the biotechnology sector. The methods of isolation of exosomes are also being studied meticulously, and new methods are being devised.