Imaging and Quantification of Extracellular Vesicles by Transmission Electron Microscopy

  • Romain Linares
  • Sisareuth Tan
  • Céline Gounou
  • Alain R. BrissonEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1545)


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell-derived vesicles that are present in blood and other body fluids. EVs raise major interest for their diverse physiopathological roles and their potential biomedical applications. However, the characterization and quantification of EVs constitute major challenges, mainly due to their small size and the lack of methods adapted for their study. Electron microscopy has made significant contributions to the EV field since their initial discovery. Here, we describe the use of two transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques for imaging and quantifying EVs. Cryo-TEM combined with receptor-specific gold labeling is applied to reveal the morphology, size, and phenotype of EVs, while their enumeration is achieved after high-speed sedimentation on EM grids.

Key words

Blood plasma Extracellular vesicles (EVs) Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) Cryo-TEM Immuno-gold labeling Annexin-A5 (Anx5) Phosphatidylserine (PS) Antibodies (Abs) Erythrocytes Platelets 



This study was supported by ANR (grant 11-BSV1-03501-PlacentA5 to A.B.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romain Linares
    • 1
  • Sisareuth Tan
    • 1
  • Céline Gounou
    • 1
  • Alain R. Brisson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Molecular Imaging and NanoBioTechnology, UMR-5248-CBMNCNRS-University of Bordeaux-IPBPessacFrance

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