Standardisation of extracellular vesicle measurements

Oral presentation
E. van der Pol, F.A. Coumans, A. Sturk, T.G. van Leeuwen, and R. Nieuwland
SelectBio Extracellular vesicles 2016, Cambridge, United Kingdom
July 12, 2016


Extracellular vesicles are heterogeneous in all their aspects, they are isolated using different protocols, and they are measured by different techniques. Therefore, data interpretation and comparison is challenging. This lecture focuses on standardization of extracellular vesicle isolation and detection.


In biological samples, the smallest and largest extracellular vesicles (EV) typically differ 25-fold in size, 300,000-fold in concentration, 20,000-fold in volume, and 10,000,000-fold in scattered light. These complex EV samples are isolated using different protocols and measured by different techniques. Consequently, the currently employed techniques detect EV concentrations in plasma ranging from 104 to 1012 mL-1. This 8 orders of magnitude difference in the reported concentration of EV emphasizes the need for standardisation.

In this lecture, I will explain how the physical properties of EV and EV samples affect the isolation and detection of EV. I will discuss recently initialized projects to standardise measurements with techniques that detect single EV, including scatter-based and fluorescence-based flow cytometry. Furthermore, I will consider established standardization procedures involved in cell detection, which may be useful to improve the standardisation of EV detection.