Measuring particle concentration of multimodal synthetic reference materials and extracellular vesicles with orthogonal techniques: Who is up to the challenge?

Extracellular Vesicles

Vogel, Robert, John Savage, Julien Muzard, Giacomo Della Camera, Gabriele Vella, Alice Law, Marianne Marchioni et al. "Measuring particle concentration of multimodal synthetic reference materials and extracellular vesicles with orthogonal techniques: Who is up to the challenge?." Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 10, no. 3 (2021): e12052.

The measurement of physicochemical properties of polydisperse complex biological samples, for example, extracellular vesicles, is critical to assess their quality, for example, resulting from their production and isolation methods. The community is gradually becoming aware of the need to combine multiple orthogonal techniques to perform a robust characterization of complex biological samples. Three pillars of critical quality attribute characterization of EVs are sizing, concentration measurement and phenotyping. The repeatable measurement of vesicle concentration is one of the key‐challenges that requires further efforts, in order to obtain comparable results by using different techniques and assure reproducibility. In this study, the performance of measuring the concentration of particles in the size range of 50–300 nm with complementary techniques is thoroughly investigated in a step‐by step approach of incremental complexity. The six applied techniques include multi‐angle dynamic light scattering (MADLS), asymmetric flow field flow fractionation coupled with multi‐angle light scattering (AF4‐MALS), centrifugal liquid sedimentation (CLS), nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), tunable resistive pulse sensing (TRPS), and high‐sensitivity nano flow cytometry (nFCM). To achieve comparability, monomodal samples and complex polystyrene mixtures were used as particles of metrological interest, in order to check the suitability of each technique in the size and concentration range of interest, and to develop reliable post‐processing data protocols for the analysis. Subsequent complexity was introduced by testing liposomes as validation of the developed approaches with a known sample of physicochemical properties closer to EVs. Finally, the vesicles in EV containing plasma samples were analysed with all the tested techniques. The results presented here aim to shed some light into the requirements for the complex characterization of biological samples, as this is a critical need for quality assurance by the EV and regulatory community. Such efforts go with the view to contribute to both, set‐up reproducible and reliable characterization protocols, and comply with the Minimal Information for Studies of Extracellular Vesicles (MISEV) requirements.

View full article

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.