Field-Free Isolation of Exosomes from Extracellular Vesicles by Microfluidic Viscoelastic Flows

Chao Liu, Jiayi Guo, Fei Tian, Na Yang, Fusheng Yan, Yanping Ding, Jingyan Wei, Guoqing Hu, Guangjun Nie, Jiashu Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


Exosomes, molecular cargos secreted by almost all mammalian cells, are considered as promising biomarkers to identify many diseases including cancers. However, the small size of exosomes (30-200 nm) poses serious challenges in their isolation from complex media containing a variety of extracellular vesicles (EVs) of different sizes, especially in small sample volumes. Here we present a viscoelasticity-based microfluidic system to directly separate exosomes from cell culture media or serum in a continuous, size-dependent, and label-free manner. Using a small amount of biocompatible polymer as the additive in the media to control the viscoelastic forces exerted on EVs, we are able to achieve a high separation purity (>90%) and recovery (>80%) of exosomes. The proposed technique may serve as a versatile platform to facilitate exosome analyses in diverse biochemical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6968-6976
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 25 2017


  • exosomes
  • microfluidics
  • microvesicles
  • separation
  • viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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