Circulating exosomes provide a promising approach to assess novel and dynamic biomarkers in human disease, due to their stability, accessibility and representation of molecules from source cells. However, this potential has been stymied by lack of approaches for molecular profiling of individual exosomes, which have a diameter of 30-150 nm. Here we report a rapid analysis approach to evaluate heterogeneous surface protein expression in single circulating exosomes from human blood. Our studies show a differential CD47 expression in blood-derived individual circulating exosomes that is correlated with breast cancer status, demonstrating a great potential of individual exosome profiles in biomarker discovery. The sensitive and high throughput platform of single exosome analysis can also be applied to characterizing exosomes derived from other patient fluids.
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