Metabolomics Applied to the Study of Extracellular Vesicles
Exosomes Laboratory, CIC bioGUNE, Bizkaia Technology Park, 48160 Derio, Spain
Glycotechnology Laboratory, CIC biomaGUNE, Paseo Miramón 182, 20014 San Sebastián, Spain
EV group, Molecular and Integrative Biosciences Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, and CURED, Drug Research Program, Faculty of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Viikinkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
EV-core, University of Helsinki, Viikinkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
CIBER-BBN, Paseo Miramón 182, 20014 San Sebastián, Spain
Metabolomics Platform, CIC bioGUNE, Bizkaia Technology Park, 48160 Derio, Spain
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), 28029 Madrid, Spain
IKERBASQUE Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, 48013 Bizkaia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(11), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo9110276
Received: 4 October 2019 / Revised: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 12 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sample Preparation in Metabolomics)
Cell-secreted extracellular vesicles (EVs) have rapidly gained prominence as sources of biomarkers for non-invasive biopsies, owing to their ubiquity across human biofluids and physiological stability. There are many characterisation studies directed towards their protein, nucleic acid, lipid and glycan content, but more recently the metabolomic analysis of EV content has also gained traction. Several EV metabolite biomarker candidates have been identified across a range of diseases, including liver disease and cancers of the prostate and pancreas. Beyond clinical applications, metabolomics has also elucidated possible mechanisms of action underlying EV function, such as the arginase-mediated relaxation of pulmonary arteries or the delivery of nutrients to tumours by vesicles. However, whilst the value of EV metabolomics is clear, there are challenges inherent to working with these entities—particularly in relation to sample production and preparation. The biomolecular composition of EVs is known to change drastically depending on the isolation method used, and recent evidence has demonstrated that changes in cell culture systems impact upon the metabolome of the resulting EVs. This review aims to collect recent advances in the EV metabolomics field whilst also introducing researchers interested in this area to practical pitfalls in applying metabolomics to EV studies.