Comparison of generic fluorescent markers for detection of extracellular vesicles by flow cytometry

Type:
Peer-reviewed article
Authors: 
L. de Rond, E. van der Pol, C.M. Hau, Z. Varga, A. Sturk, T.G. van Leeuwen, R. Nieuwland, and F.A.W. Coumans
Date:
Accepted January 12th, 2018
Journal:
Clinical Chemistry
Volume:
64
Issue:
4
DOI:
10.1373/clinchem.2017.278978
Attachment: 
de Rond 2018 Clin.Chem. Fluorescent EV markers.pdf (411 kB)
Supplements: 
de Rond 2018 Clin.Chem. Fluorescent EV markers suppl.pdf (1,313 kB)
de Rond 2018 Clin.Chem. Fluorescent EV markers MIFlowCyt.pdf (100 kB)

Abstract

Background:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) in biofluids are potential biomarkers of disease. To explore the clinical relevance of EVs, a specific generic EV marker would be useful, one that does not require antibodies and binds to all EVs. Here we evaluated 5 commonly used generic markers for flow cytometry.

Methods: Flow cytometry (A60-Micro, Apogee) was used to evaluate the ability of the generic EV markers calcein acetoxymethyl ester, calcein acetoxymethyl ester violet, carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE), 4-(2-[6-(dioctylamino)-2-naphthalenyl]ethenyl)-1-(3-sulfopropyl)pyridinium (di-8-ANEPPS), and lactadherin to stain EVs from MCF7 human breast adenocarcinoma cell line-conditioned culture medium [epithelial cell adhesion molecule positive (EpCAM+)] or platelet EVs from human plasma [integrin β3 positive (CD61+)]. Side scatter triggering was applied as a reference, and the influence of non-EV components (proteins and lipoproteins) was evaluated.

Results: Di-8-ANEPPS, lactadherin, and side scatter detected 100% of EpCAM+ MCF7 EVs. Lactadherin and side scatter detected 33% and 61% of CD61+ EVs, respectively. Di-8-ANEPPS detected platelet EVs only if soluble protein was first removed. Because all generic markers stained proteins, at best 33% of platelet EVs in plasma were detected. The calcein markers and CFSE were either insensitive to EVs in both samples or associated with swarm detection.

Conclusions: None of the generic markers detected all and only EVs in plasma. Side scatter triggering detected the highest concentration of plasma EVs on our A60-Micro, followed by lactadherin. The choice between scatter or lactadherin primarily depends on the analytical sensitivity of the flow cytometer used.

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