Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.

Issue 14, 2020
Previous Article Next Article

Emerging technologies for profiling extracellular vesicle heterogeneity

Author affiliations


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-bound vesicles secreted by most cell types and exist in virtually all bodily fluids. They carry on a wealth of proteomic and genetic information including proteins, lipids, miRNAs, mRNA, non-coding RNA and other molecules from parental cells. Increasing evidence shows that within populations of EVs, their biogenesis, physical characteristics (e.g. size, density, morphology) and cargos (e.g. protein, lipid content, nucleic acids) may vary substantially, which accordingly change their biological properties. To fully exploit the potential of EVs, it requires qualified methods to profile EV heterogeneity. In this review, we survey recent approaches for EV isolation with innovative discoveries in heterogeneity. The main challenges in EV heterogeneity research are identified, and the roles of single cell EV profiling and single EV imaging are highlighted. We further discuss promising opportunities for resolving the underlying complexity of EV heterogeneity.

Graphical abstract: Emerging technologies for profiling extracellular vesicle heterogeneity

Back to tab navigation

Article information

28 Apr 2020
27 May 2020
First published
27 May 2020

Lab Chip, 2020,20, 2423-2437
Article type
Critical Review

Emerging technologies for profiling extracellular vesicle heterogeneity

G. Huang, G. Lin, Y. Zhu, W. Duan and D. Jin, Lab Chip, 2020, 20, 2423
DOI: 10.1039/D0LC00431F

Social activity

Search articles by author