JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In





Representative Results





Immunology and Infection

Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles from Murine Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid Using an Ultrafiltration Centrifugation Technique

Published: November 9th, 2018



1Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Women's Guild Lung Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 3Department of Medicine, Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Here, we describe two extracellular vesicle isolation protocols, ultrafiltration centrifugation and ultracentrifugation with density gradient centrifugation, to isolate extracellular vesicles from murine bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples. The extracellular vesicles derived from murine bronchoalveolar lavage fluid by both methods are quantified and characterized.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are newly discovered subcellular components that play important roles in many biological signaling functions during physiological and pathological states. The isolation of EVs continues to be a major challenge in this field, due to limitations intrinsic to each technique. The differential ultracentrifugation with density gradient centrifugation method is a commonly used approach and is considered to be the gold standard procedure for EV isolation. However, this procedure is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and generally results in low scalability, which may not be suitable for small-volume samples such as bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. We demonstrate that an ultrafiltration centrifugation isolation method is simple and time- and labor-efficient yet provides a high recovery yield and purity. We propose that this isolation method could be an alternative approach that is suitable for EV isolation, particularly for small-volume biological specimens.

Exosomes are the smallest subset of EVs, 50–200 nm in diameter, and have multiple biological functions across a diverse array of signaling processes1,2,3,4,5. They govern cellular and tissue homeostasis primarily by facilitating intercellular communication through cargo molecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids6,7,8,9. One critical step in EV research is the isol....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The utilization of animals and all animal procedures were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC).

1. Murine Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid (BALF) Collection and Preparation

  1. BALF collection
    1. Euthanize mice with a cocktail of ketamine (300 mg/kg) and xylazine (30 mg/kg) via the intraperitoneal route followed by cervical dislocation.
    2. Insert a 22 G angiocatheter into the trachea. Attach an insulin s.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

We performed EV isolation from mouse BALF using UFC and UC-DGC isolation methods on the same day. The UFC method required approximately 2.5–3 h, whereas the UC-DGC technique required 8 h of processing time. This did not include buffers and reagent preparation time. It should be noted that some other tasks could be performed during the long centrifugation periods. Nevertheless, the entire procedure lasted nearly an entire day for the UC-DGC isolation technique.

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

In the past few decades, scientists have unraveled the significances of EVs in cellular homeostasis. More importantly, EVs play major roles in many disease processes by modulating neighboring and distant cells through their bioactive cargo molecules1,21,22,26,27,28,29,

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The work is supported by the NHLBI/NIH grants HL103868 (to P.C.) and HL137076 (to P.C.), the American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid (to P.C.), and the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute (SOCCI) Lung Cancer Research Award (to P.C.). We would like to express our great appreciation to the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that provides us a Nanosight machine for EV nanoparticle tracking analysis.


Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Amicon Ultra-15 centrifugal filters Ultracel-100K Sigma-Millipore, St. Louis, MO UFC910024
Dulbecco's Phosphate Buffered Saline (DPBS) Corning Cellgro, Manassas, VA 21-031-CV
Sucrose Sigma-Millipore, St. Louis, MO EMD8550
HEPES Research Products International, Prospect, IL 75277-39-3
EDTA Corning Cellgro, Manassas, VA 46-034-CI
Sodium Chloride Sigma-Millipore, St. Louis, MO S3014-1KG
OptiPrep Sigma-Millipore, St. Louis, MO MKCD9753 Density Gradient Medium
Ketamine VetOne, Boise, ID 13985-702-10
Xylazine Akorn Animal Health, Lake Forest, IL 59399-110-20
Syringe 1 mL BD Syringe, Franklin Lakes, NJ 309656
Angiocatheter 20G BD Syringe, Franklin Lakes, NJ 381703
Centrifuge tubes 15 mL VWR, Radnor, PA 89039-666
Centrifuge tubes 50 mL Corning Cellgro, Manassas, VA 430828
Bicinchonic acid (BCA) protein assay Pierce, Thermo Fischer Scientific, Rockford, IL 23235
Rabbit anti-mouse TSG101 Antibody AbCam, Cambridge, MA AB125011
Rat anti-mouse PE-CD63 Antibody Biolegend, San Diego, CA 143904
Anti-rabbit IgG, HRP-linked antibody Cell Signaling Technology, Danvers, MA 7074S
4x LDS
10x Reducing agent (Bolt)
10x Lysis buffer (Bolt) Cell Signaling Technology, Danvers, MA
Bolt 4-12% Bis-Tris Plus acrylamide gel Invitrogen, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA NW04120
iBlot 2 Nitrocellulose mini stacks Invitrogen, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA IB23002
Chemiluminescent HRP antibody detection reagent HyGLO Denville Scientific, Holliston, MA E2400
Ultracentrifuge tubes 17 mL Beckman Coulter, Pasadena, CA 337986
Ultracentrifuge tubes 38.5 mL Beckman Coulter, Pasadena, CA 326823
Corning SFCA Syringe Filters 0.2 µm pore Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA 09-754-13
Centrifuge Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany -
Ultracentrifuge Beckman Coulter, Pasadena, CA -
Nanosight (NS300) Malvern, Worcestershire, UK - To measure particle size distribution and particle concentration
MACSQuant Analyzer 10 flow cytometer Miltenyi Biotec, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany -
iBlot Transfer Apparatus Thermo Fischer Scientific, Waltham, MA -
Bio-Rad ChemiDoc MP Imaging System Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA
FlowJo v. 10 Analysis software

  1. Thery, C., Zitvogel, L., Amigorena, S. Exosomes: composition, biogenesis and function. Nature Reviews Immunology. 2, 569-579 (2002).
  2. Kosaka, N., et al. Secretory Mechanisms and Intercellular Transfer of MicroRNAs in Living Cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 285 (23), 17442-17452 (2010).
  3. Raposo, G., Stoorvogel, W. Extracellular vesicles: Exosomes, microvesicles, and friends. The Journal of Cell Biology. 200 (4), 373-383 (2013).
  4. Fujita, Y., Kosaka, N., Araya, J., Kuwano, K., Ochiya, T. Extracellular vesicles in lung microenvironment and pathogenesis. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 21 (9), 533-542 (2015).
  5. Kalluri, R. The biology and function of exosomes in cancer. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 126 (4), 1208-1215 (2016).
  6. Janowska-Wieczorek, A., et al. Microvesicles derived from activated platelets induce metastasis and angiogenesis in lung cancer. International Journal of Cancer. 113 (5), 752-760 (2005).
  7. Valadi, H., et al. Exosome-mediated transfer of mRNAs and microRNAs is a novel mechanism of genetic exchange between cells. Nature Cell Biology. 9 (6), 654-659 (2007).
  8. Colombo, M., Raposo, G., Théry, C. Biogenesis, Secretion, and Intercellular Interactions of Exosomes and Other Extracellular Vesicles. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 30 (1), 255-289 (2014).
  9. Rocco, G. D., Baldari, S., Toietta, G. Exosomes and other extracellular vesicles-mediated microRNA delivery for cancer therapy. Translational Cancer Research. 6 (Supplement 8), S1321-S1330 (2017).
  10. Peterson, M. F., Otoc, N., Sethi, J. K., Gupta, A., Antes, T. J. Integrated systems for exosome investigation. Methods. 87 (1), 31-45 (2015).
  11. Xu, R., Greening, D. W., Zhu, H. J., Takahashi, N., Simpson, R. J. Extracellular vesicle isolation and characterization: toward clinical application. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 126, 1152-1162 (2016).
  12. Gardiner, C., et al. Techniques used for the isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles: results of a worldwide survey. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 5 (1), 32945 (2016).
  13. Inglis, H. C., et al. Techniques to improve detection and analysis of extracellular vesicles using flow cytometry. Cytometry Part A. 87 (11), 1052-1063 (2015).
  14. Li, P., Kaslan, M., Lee, S. H., Yao, J., Gao, Z. Progress in Exosome Isolation Techniques. Theranostics. 7 (3), 789-804 (2017).
  15. Willis, G. R., Kourembanas, S., Mitsialis, S. A. Toward Exosome-Based Therapeutics: Isolation, Heterogeneity, and Fit-for-Purpose Potency. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. 4, 20389 (2017).
  16. Lobb, R. J., et al. Optimized exosome isolation protocol for cell culture supernatant and human plasma. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 4 (1), 27031 (2015).
  17. Benedikter, B. J., et al. Ultrafiltration combined with size exclusion chromatography efficiently isolates extracellular vesicles from cell culture media for compositional and functional studies. Scientific Reports. 7 (1), 15297 (2017).
  18. Vergauwen, G., et al. Confounding factors of ultrafiltration and protein analysis in extracellular vesicle research. Scientific Reports. 7 (1), 2704 (2017).
  19. Kesimer, M., et al. Characterization of exosome-like vesicles released from human tracheobronchial ciliated epithelium: a possible role in innate defense. The FASEB Journal. 23 (6), 1858-1868 (2009).
  20. Torregrosa Paredes, P., et al. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid exosomes contribute to cytokine and leukotriene production in allergic asthma. Allergy. 67 (7), 911-919 (2012).
  21. Alipoor, S. D., et al. Exosomes and Exosomal miRNA in Respiratory Diseases. Mediators of Inflammation. 2016, 5628404 (2016).
  22. Hough, K. P., Chanda, D., Duncan, S. R., Thannickal, V. J., Deshane, J. S. Exosomes in Immunoregulation of Chronic Lung Diseases. Allergy. 72 (4), 534-544 (2017).
  23. Van Hoecke, L., Job, E. R., Saelens, X., Roose, K. Bronchoalveolar Lavage of Murine Lungs to Analyze Inflammatory Cell Infiltration. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (123), e55398 (2017).
  24. Minciacchi, V. R., et al. MYC Mediates Large Oncosome-Induced Fibroblast Reprogramming in Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research. 77 (9), 2306-2317 (2017).
  25. Koliha, N., et al. Melanoma Affects the Composition of Blood Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles. Frontiers in Immunology. 7, 581 (2016).
  26. Thery, C., Ostrowski, M., Segura, E. Membrane vesicles as conveyors of immune responses. Nature Reviews Immunology. 9, 581-593 (2009).
  27. Camussi, G., Deregibus, M. C., Bruno, S., Cantaluppi, V., Biancone, L. Exosomes/microvesicles as a mechanism of cell-to-cell communication. Kidney International. 78 (9), 838-848 (2010).
  28. Lee, Y., El Andaloussi, S., Wood, M. J. Exosomes and microvesicles: extracellular vesicles for genetic information transfer and gene therapy. Human Molecular Genetics. 21, R125-R134 (2012).
  29. Villarroya-Beltri, C., Baixauli, F., Gutiérrez-Vázquez, C., Sánchez-Madrid, F., Mittelbrunn, M. Sorting it out: Regulation of exosome loading. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 28, 3-13 (2014).
  30. Hoshino, A. Tumour exosome integrins determine organotropic metastasis. Nature. 527, 329-335 (2015).
  31. Liu, F., et al. The Exosome Total Isolation Chip. ACS Nano. 11 (11), 10712-10723 (2017).
  32. Cheruvanky, A., et al. Rapid isolation of urinary exosomal biomarkers using a nanomembrane ultrafiltration concentrator. American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology. 292 (5), F1657-F1661 (2007).
  33. Zhao, Z., Yang, Y., Zeng, Y., He, M. A Microfluidic ExoSearch Chip for Multiplexed Exosome Detection Towards Blood-based Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis. Lab on a Chip. 16 (3), 489-496 (2016).
  34. Fang, S., et al. Clinical application of a microfluidic chip for immunocapture and quantification of circulating exosomes to assist breast cancer diagnosis and molecular classification. PloS ONE. 12 (4), e0175050 (2017).
  35. Cheruvanky, A., et al. Rapid isolation of urinary exosomal biomarkers using a nanomembrane ultrafiltration concentrator. American Journal Physiology-Renal Physiology. 292 (5), F1657-F1661 (2007).
  36. Kornilov, R., et al. Efficient ultrafiltration-based protocol to deplete extracellular vesicles from fetal bovine serum. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 7 (1), 1422674 (2018).
  37. Alvarez, M. L., Khosroheidari, M., Kanchi Ravi, R., DiStefano, J. K. Comparison of protein, microRNA, and mRNA yields using different methods of urinary exosome isolation for the discovery of kidney disease biomarkers. Kidney International. 82 (9), 1024-1032 (2012).
  38. Bosch, S., et al. Trehalose prevents aggregation of exosomes and cryodamage. Scientific Reports. 6 (1), 329 (2016).
  39. Xiao, J., et al. Cardiac progenitor cell-derived exosomes prevent cardiomyocytes apoptosis through exosomal miR-21 by targeting PDCD4. Cell Death & Disease. 7 (6), e2277 (2016).
  40. Agarwal, U., et al. Experimental, Systems and Computational Approaches to Understanding the MicroRNA-Mediated Reparative Potential of Cardiac Progenitor Cell-Derived Exosomes From Pediatric Patients. Circulation Research. 120 (4), 701-712 (2017).
  41. Merchant, M. L., et al. Microfiltration isolation of human urinary exosomes for characterization by MS. PROTEOMICS - Clinical Applications. 4 (1), 84-96 (2010).
  42. Gouin, K., et al. A comprehensive method for identification of suitable reference genes in extracellular vesicles. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 6 (1), 1347019 (2017).
  43. Betsuyaku, T., et al. Neutrophil Granule Proteins in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid from Subjects with Subclinical Emphysema. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 159 (6), 1985-1991 (1999).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved