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Electrokinetic characterization of extracellular vesicles with capillary electrophoresis: A new tool for their identification and quantification

M. Morani, T.Duc Mai, Z. Krupova, P. Defrenaix, E. Multia, M. Riekkola, M. Taverna

Analytica Chimica Acta 1128 (2020) 45-51


This work reports on the development of the first capillary electrophoresis methodology for the elucidation of extracellular vesicles’ (EVs) electrokinetic distributions. The approach is based on capillary electrophoresis coupled with laser-induced fluorescent (LIF) detection for the identification and quantification of EVs after their isolation. Sensitive detection of these nanometric entities was possible thanks to an ‘inorganic-species-free’ background electrolyte. This electrolyte was made up of weakly charged molecules at very high concentrations to stabilize EVs, and an intra-membrane labelling approach was used to prevent EV morphology modification. The limit of detection for EVs achieved using the developed CE-LIF method method reached 8 × 10⁹ EVs/mL, whereas the calibration curve was acquired from 1.22 × 10¹⁰ to 1.20 × 10¹¹ EVs/mL. The CE-LIF approach was applied to provide the electrokinetic distributions of various EVs of animal and human origins, and visualize different EV subpopulations from our recently developed high-yield EV isolation method.

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