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Table 1 Characteristics of main extracellular vesicles

From: Exosomes: biogenesis, biologic function and clinical potential

Feature Exosome Apoptotic body MV
Size Homologous 30–100 nm Heterogeneous 1–5 μm Heterogeneous 100–1000 nm
Markers Membrane impermeable (PI negative) CD63, TSG101, Alix, flottilin Membrane permeable (PI positive) Annexin V, DNA, histones Membrane impermeable (PI negative) integrin, selectin, flotillin-2
Density 1.13–1.19 g/mL 1.16–1.28 g/mL 1.25–1.30 g/mL
Contents Protein, lipid, different RNA species, and DNA Cytosolic content (protein, RNAs, fragmented DNA) and cellular organelles Protein, lipid, different RNA species, and DNA
Determinant of controlled contents The cellular origin and physiological state of the cell The cellular origin and stimuli No direct correlation
Lipids A major sorting of lipidic molecules from the parental cells (include BMP) Characterized by phosphatidylserine externalization The lipid contents are primarily derived from plasma membrane, and resemble the parental cells (without BMP)
Origin Multivesicular bodies fusion with plasmatic membrane Cellular debris, plasma membrane blebbing during cell apoptosis Direct outward budding or blebbing from the plasma membrane
Mechanism of release Constitutive or inducible, depending on the cell type of origin Rho-associated kinase I and myosin ATPase activity Relocation of phospholipids to the outer membrane, cytoskeleton rearrangements, generation of membrane curvature, and vesicle release
Detection methods Electron microscopy, Western blot for exosome enriched markers Flow cytometry, electron microscopy, Flow cytometry, electron microscopy
Isolation methods Ultracentrifugation (100,000–200,000×g) filtration, density gradient Immunoprecipitation, Immune affinity capture and ExoQuick precipitation methods Ultracentrifugation (10,000–20,000×g) No standardized methods
Size determination and quantification Dynamic light scattering Nanoparticle tracking analysis Surface plasmon resonance   
References [19, 20, 48, 50, 122,123,124] [29, 75, 125, 126] [28, 48, 123, 124, 127, 128]
  1. MV Microvesicle, BMP bone morphogenetic protein, PI propidium iodide