Exosomes could lead to less costly, less intrusive, more accurate diagnosis
Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have developed a method of isolating biospecimens that could lead to a less costly, less invasive and more accurate way of diagnosing chronic kidney disease, or CKD.
CKD is a major complication of diabetes, high blood pressure and a form of kidney disease known as glomerulonephritis, which is characterized by a progressive deterioration of the kidney's ability to filter waste from the blood.
TGen's customized procedure produced high amounts of protein-rich urinary exosomes, which are microscopic vesicles that could help scientists discover biomarkers leading to better diagnosis and treatment of CKD.
TGen's findings were published today in the journal Kidney International, part of the Nature Publishing Group.
"Our method of extracting exosomes from urine is simple, fast and easily adapted to clinical research, so we can ultimately help physicians provide better therapies for their patients," said Dr. Johanna DiStefano, Director of TGen's Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Division, and the study's senior author.
The goal of the study was to identify the best exosome isolation methods for both proteomic analysis and RNA profiling of urinary exosomes as a first step for biomarker discovery.
"Unlike a kidney biopsy - an invasive and expensive procedure that provides only a small sample from one of two kidneys - urinary exosomes provide a full representation of the entire urinary system," said Dr. Lucrecia Alvarez, a post-doctoral fellow at TGen and the study's lead author.
TGen researchers evaluated six different methods of isolating exosomes, which can carry genetic material that, when profiled, can lead to biomarkers that could help identify patients with kidney disease.
One of the six methods in the study tested was based on a commercially available exosome precipitation reagent called ExoQuick-TC, which by itself did not yield high quantities or pure preparations of protein and RNA. However, the TGen modification of the protocol led to the highest yields of miRNA and mRNA, which can subsequently be used in downstream genetic profiling experiments.