Environmental noise reduction for tunable resistive pulse sensing of extracellular vesicles

Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) bearing biomolecules from parental cells can represent a novel source of disease biomarkers and are under intensive study for their clinical potential. Tunable resistive pulse sensing (TRPS) quantifies the magnitude of a small ionic resistive pulse current to determine the size, concentration, and zeta potential of EVs. Environmental noise is a common limiting factor that affects the precision of sensing devices. TRPS is particularly vulnerable to environmental noise, including both mechanical and electrical. The upper detection limit of the TRPS relies on the physical size of the elastomeric tunable nanopore. The lower limit relies on the electrical signal-to-noise ratio. Guided by simulation, we designed an external device to suppress environmental noise for TRPS measurement. Both mechanical and electrical environmental noise reductions were observed after using the shield. The study also validated the noise reduction function of the shield by quantifying EVs from different cell origins. Detection of EVs smaller than 200 nm was improved by using the shield; which was reported challenging for conventional quantification methods. The study highlighted a feasible approach to solve environmental noise challenges for TRPS based EV quantification.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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