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Hindawi, Journal of Immunology Research, (2022), p. 1-11, 2022

DOI: 10.1155/2022/5473763



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Optimized Protocol for the Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles from the Parasitic Worm Schistosoma mansoni with Improved Purity, Concentration, and Yield

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


In the past decade, the interest in helminth-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) increased owing to their role in pathogen-host communication. However, the availability of EVs from these parasitic worms is often limited due to the restricted occurrence and culturing possibilities of these organisms. Schistosoma mansoni is one of several helminths that have been shown to release EVs affecting the immune response of their host. Further investigation of mechanisms underlying these EV-induced effects warrants separation of EVs from other components of the helminth excretory/secretory products. However, isolation of high-purity EVs often come to the expense of reduced EV yield. We therefore aimed to develop an optimized protocol for isolation of EVs from S. mansoni schistosomula and adult worms with respect to purity, concentration, and yield. We tested the use of small (1.7 ml) iodixanol density gradients and demonstrated that this enabled western blot-based analysis of the EV marker protein tetraspanin-2 (TSP-2) in gradient fractions without additional concentration steps. Moreover, the concentration and yield of EVs obtained with small iodixanol gradients were higher compared to medium-sized (4.3 ml) or conventional large-sized (12 ml) gradients. Additionally, we provide evidence that iodixanol is preferred over sucrose as medium for the small density gradients, because EVs in iodixanol gradients reached equilibrium much faster (2 hours) and iodixanol but not sucrose was suitable for purification of schistosomula EVs. Finally, we demonstrate that the small iodixanol gradients were able to separate adult worm EVs from non-EV contaminants such as the blood digestion product hemozoin. Our optimized small iodixanol density gradient allows to simultaneously separate and concentrate EVs while reducing handling time and EV loss and can be applied for EVs from helminths and other limited EV sources.