Chemically-Induced Lipoprotein Breakdown for Improved Extracellular Vesicle Purification

Dalila Iannotta, A. Amruta, Andrew Lai, Soumyalekshmi Nair, Na'ama Koifman, Martha Lappas, Carlos Salomon, Joy Wolfram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanosized biomolecular packages involved in intercellular communication. EVs are released by all cells, making them broadly applicable as therapeutic, diagnostic, and mechanistic components in (patho)physiology. Sample purity is critical for correctly attributing observed effects to EVs and for maximizing therapeutic and diagnostic performance. Lipoprotein contaminants represent a major challenge for sample purity. Lipoproteins are approximately six orders of magnitude more abundant in the blood circulation and overlap in size, shape, and density with EVs. This study represents the first example of an EV purification method based on the chemically-induced breakdown of lipoproteins. Specifically, a styrene-maleic acid (SMA) copolymer is used to selectively breakdown lipoproteins, enabling subsequent size-based separation of the breakdown products from plasma EVs. The use of the polymer followed by tangential flow filtration or size-exclusion chromatography results in improved EV yield, preservation of EV morphology, increased EV markers, and reduced contaminant markers. SMA-based EV purification enables improved fluorescent labeling, reduces interactions with macrophages, and enhances accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity to detect EV biomarkers, indicating benefits for various downstream applications. In conclusion, SMA is a simple and effective method to improve the purity and yield of plasma-derived EVs, which favorably impacts downstream applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2307240
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 2 2024


  • contaminants
  • exosome
  • isolation
  • lipoproteins
  • microvesicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomaterials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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