What Are We Looking At? Extracellular Vesicles, Lipoproteins, or Both?
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Unawareness or neglecting that extracellular vesicles (EVs) and lipoproteins coisolate when using a traditional 1-step physical-based purification method to isolate one of these entities from plasma is a major issue. This issue ultimately leads to wrong conclusions about the composition and biological functions of these bionanoparticles. Here, I highlight the biophysical similarities between EVs and lipoproteins and their different abundances in plasma that result in the unintentional coisolation of these 2 different entities. Concerns related to nonquantitative measures of mass spectrometry (MS) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)–based data and the dynamics of certain apolipoproteins are also stressed because these facets, like the coisolation issue, may challenge our understanding of what we are actually looking at when we are studying apparently purified EV or lipoprotein samples.
EVs and lipoproteins are biological nanoparticles that can be found in the circulatory system. Among the many biological functions, including cardiovascular, of EVs and lipoproteins is their proposed ability to deliver biological cargo (beyond lipids in the case of lipoproteins) from one cell to a distant recipient cell. Thus, these biological vehicles may be key mediators of intercellular communication. As such, EVs and lipoproteins have the potential to serve as disease biomarkers and to deliver therapeutic compounds to specific biological targets. However, a proper isolation and characterization of EVs and lipoproteins is crucial and often a prerequisite for being able to investigate the biological properties of these specific entities and to exploit and realize their full clinical potential.
EVs are cell-derived nanoscale vesicles that carry nucleic acids, proteins, and other biomolecular compounds from their cells of origin. EVs constitute a heterogeneous population of vesicles secreted via different mechanisms—to all kinds of body fluids. The young EV research field has received increased attention during the last decade. EV classification efforts are impeded by the lack …