Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been gaining increasing attention given their role in communicating information between cells. Composition-based isolation of EVs is particularly of high significance as the proteomic and lipidomic characterization of their cargo could provide valuable clues to the role of EVs in mediating the biology of various conditions. This has, however, proved to be challenging as EVs, despite their abundance, are very small and difficult to be differentiated from the other constituents of host media. In addition, currently available methods like ultracentrifugation and filtration are cumbersome and capable of achieving mostly size-based separations. In this work, we demonstrate the possibility of separating submicron EV-like vesicles from cancer cells using a thermally-assisted acoustophoretic device. In a system composed of MCF-7 breast cancer cells spiked with two different types of same-size vesicles, composition-based isolation of vesicles was shown to be realizable through opposite focusing of the system’s components at the node and antinodes of the overlaid ultrasonic standing wave. By proper choice of temperature in the microchannel, we were able to achieve separations with purities exceeding 93%. Furthermore, cells recovered from the channel were shown to be viable after the separation.
Elnaz Mirtaheri, Ata Dolatmoradi, Krystine Pimentel, Shekhar Bhansali, and Bilal El-Zahab, "Thermally assisted acoustofluidic separation of extracellular vesicles from cells," Proc. SPIE 10491, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XVI, 104910W (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2291112.
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