Extracellular Vesicles (shortened as EV's) are sub-micron sized particles which have an enclosing membrane. They are one mechanism for inter-cellular communication. They are composed of lipids and proteins, and there may be nucleic acid inside (the cargo ) 1 .
There is potential for using EV's as biomarkers , since it is believed that the regulation of the release and composition of these particles can be correlated to certain disease . The biggest challenge is that most EV's are <500nm in diameter, and therefore hard to detect by standard means, and that one must be able to detect rare particles (perhaps 1% of the particles change between healthy and non healthy humans).
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 16, 1423-1436 (Libregts, ..., E.N.M. Nolte-'T Hoen, ...) ↩