Mass spectrometry of extracellular vesicles

Gabriella Pocsfalvi, Christopher Stanly, Annalisa Vilasi, Immacolata Fiume, Giovambattista Capasso, Lilla Turiák, E. Búzás, K. Vékey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)


The review briefly summaries main features of extracellular vesicles, a joint terminology for exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic vesicles. These vesicles are in the center of interest in biology and medical sciences, and form a very active field of research. Mass spectrometry (MS), with its specificity and sensitivity, has the potential to identify and characterize molecular composition of these vesicles; but as yet there are only a limited, but fast-growing, number of publications that use MS workflows in this field. MS is the major tool to assess protein composition of extracellular vesicles: qualitative and quantitative proteomics approaches are both reviewed. Beside proteins, lipid and metabolite composition of vesicles might also be best assessed by MS techniques; however there are few applications as yet in this respect. The role of alternative analytical approaches, like gel-based proteomics and antibody-based immunoassays, are also mentioned. The objective of the review is to give an overview of this fast-growing field to help orient MS-based research on extracellular vesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalMass Spectrometry Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • biomarker discovery
  • extracellular vesicles
  • lipids
  • proteins
  • subcellular proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Pocsfalvi, G., Stanly, C., Vilasi, A., Fiume, I., Capasso, G., Turiák, L., Búzás, E., & Vékey, K. (2016). Mass spectrometry of extracellular vesicles. Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 35(1), 3-21.