DOI: 10.1002/jnr.25231 ISSN: 0360-4012

Plasma versus serum for extracellular vesicle (EV) isolation: A duel for reproducibility and accuracy for CNS‐originating EVs biomarker analysis

Hash Brown Taha
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Blood‐derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a popular source of biomarkers for central nervous system (CNS) diseases, but inconsistencies in isolation and analysis hinder their clinical translation. This review summarizes recent studies that investigate the impact of different anticoagulated plasma and serum on the yield, purity, and molecular content of EVs. Specifically, the studies compare ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), citrate, heparin plasma, and serum and highlight the risk of contamination from platelet‐derived EVs. Here, I offer practical guidelines for standardizing EV isolation and analysis, recommending the use of plasma anticoagulated with acid‐citrate‐dextrose (ACD) or citrate followed by EDTA and heparin, subgroup analyses for samples from different biobank repositories, and avoiding serum and plasma‐to‐serum transformation. Other factors like illness, age, gender, meal timing, exercise, circadian timing, and arm pressure during blood draw can alter EV signatures. Yet, how these variables interact with different anticoagulated plasma or serum samples is unclear, necessitating further research. Furthermore, whether the changes are dependent on the isolation or quantification methodology remains an area of investigation. Importantly, the perspective emphasizes the need for consistency in experimental methodologies to improve the reproducibility and clinical applicability of CNS‐originating EV biomarker studies. The proposed guidelines, along with ongoing efforts to standardize blood sample handling and collection, may facilitate the development of more reliable and informative CNS‐originating EV biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment monitoring of CNS diseases.

More from our Archive