Assessment of anti-inflammatory bioactivity of extracellular vesicles is susceptible to error via media component contamination

Published:January 02, 2023DOI:


      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are widely implicated as novel diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for a wide range of diseases. Thus, optimization of EV biomanufacturing is of high interest. In the course of developing parameters for a human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293T) EV production platform, we examined the combinatorial effects of cell culture conditions (i.e., static versus dynamic) and isolation techniques (i.e., ultracentrifugation versus tangential flow filtration versus size-exclusion chromatography) on functional characteristics of HEK293T EVs, including anti-inflammatory bioactivity using a well-established lipopolysaccharide-stimulated mouse macrophage model. We unexpectedly found that, depending on culture condition and isolation strategy, HEK293T EVs appeared to significantly suppress the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e., interleukin-6, RANTES [regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted]) in the stimulated mouse macrophages. Further examination revealed that these results were most likely due to non-EV fetal bovine serum components in HEK293T EV preparations. Thus, future research assessing the anti-inflammatory effects of EVs should be designed to account for this phenomenon.


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