Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanosized lipid bilayer-encapsulated particles secreted by virtually all cell types. EVs play an essential role in cellular crosstalk in health and disease. The cellular origin of EVs determines their composition and potential therapeutic effect. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (MSC)-derived EVs have shown a comparable therapeutic potential to their donor cells, making them a promising tool for regenerative medicine. The therapeutic application of EVs circumvents some safety concerns associated with the transplantation of viable, replicating cells and facilitates the quality-controlled production as a ready-to-go, off-the-shelf biological therapy. Recently, the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) suggested a set of minimal biochemical, biophysical and functional standards to define extracellular vesicles and their functions to improve standardisation in EV research. However, nonstandardised EV isolation methods and the limited availability of cross-reacting markers for most animal species restrict the application of these standards in the veterinary field and, therefore, the species comparability and standardisation of animal experiments. In this study, EVs were isolated from equine bone-marrow-derived MSCs using two different isolation methods, stepwise ultracentrifugation and size exclusion chromatography, and minimal experimental requirements for equine EVs were established and validated. Equine EVs were characterised using a nanotracking analysis, fluorescence-triggered flow cytometry, Western blot and transelectron microscopy. Based on the ISEV standards, minimal criteria for defining equine EVs are suggested as a baseline to allow the comparison of EV preparations obtained by different laboratories.
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