Isolation and characterization of neutrophil-derived microparticles for functional studies

Ariel Finkielsztein, Lorraine Mascarenhas, Veronika Butin-Israeli, Ronen Sumagin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Polymorphonuclear neutrophil-derived microparticles (PMN)-MPs) are lipid bilayer, spherical microvesicles with sizes ranging from 50–1,000 nm in diameter. MPs are a newly evolving, important part of cell-to-cell communication and signaling machinery. Because of their size and the nature of their release, until recently MP existence was overlooked. However, with improved technology and analytical methods their function in health and disease is now emerging. The protocols presented here are aimed at isolating and characterizing PMN-MPs by flow cytometry and immunoblotting. Moreover, several implementation examples are given. These protocols for MP isolation are fast, low-cost, and do not require the use of expensive kits. Furthermore, they allow for the labeling of MPs following isolation, as well as pre-labeling of source cells prior to MP release, using a membrane-specific fluorescent dye for visualization and analysis by flow cytometry. These methods, however, have several limitations including purity of PMNs and MPs and the need for sophisticated analytical instrumentation. A high-end flow cytometer is needed to reliably analyze MPs and minimize false positive reads due to noise or auto-fluorescence. The described protocols can be used to isolate and define MP biogenesis, and characterize their markers and variation in composition under different stimulating conditions. Size heterogeneity can be exploited to investigate whether the content of membrane particles versus exosomes is different, and whether they fulfill different roles in tissue homeostasis. Finally, following isolation and characterization of MPs, their function in cellular responses and various disease models (including, PMN-associated inflammatory disorders, such as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases or Acute Lung Injury) can be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56949
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number133
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018


  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunology
  • Issue 133
  • Microparticles
  • Microvesicles
  • Neutrophils
  • Ultracentrifugation
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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