Detection of micro-plasma-induced exosomes secretion in a fibroblast-melanoma co-culture model

Han Lee, Jiunn Der Liao, Tak Wah Wong, Che Wei Wu, Bo Yao Huang, Shun Cheng Wu, Pei Lin Shao, Yu Han Wei, Ming Hsien Cheng

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Melanoma is a highly aggressive tumor and a significant cause of skin cancer-related death. Timely diagnosis and treatment require identification of specific biomarkers in exosomes secreted by melanoma cells. In this study, label-free surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) method with size-matched selectivity was used to detect membrane proteins in exosomes released from a stimulated environment of fibroblasts (L929) co-cultured with melanoma cells (B16–F10). To promote normal secretion of exosomes, micro-plasma treatment was used to gently induce the co-cultured cells and slightly increase the stress level around the cells for subsequent detection using the SERS method. Results and discussion: Firstly, changes in reactive oxygen species/reactive nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) concentrations in the cellular microenvironment and the viability and proliferation of healthy cells are assessed. Results showed that micro-plasma treatment increased extracellular ROS/RNS levels while modestly reducing cell proliferation without significantly affecting cell survival. Secondly, the particle size of secreted exosomes isolated from the culture medium of L929, B16–F10, and co-cultured cells with different micro-plasma treatment time did not increase significantly under single-cell conditions at short treatment time but might be changed under co-culture condition or longer treatment time. Third, for SERS signals related to membrane protein biomarkers, exosome markers CD9, CD63, and CD81 can be assigned to significant Raman shifts in the range of 943–1030 and 1304-1561 cm-1, while the characteristics SERS peaks of L929 and B16–F10 cells are most likely located at 1394/1404, 1271 and 1592 cm-1 respectively. Significance and novelty: Therefore, this micro-plasma-induced co-culture model provides a promising preclinical approach to understand the diagnostic potential of exosomes secreted by cutaneous melanoma/fibroblasts. Furthermore, the label-free SERS method with size-matched selectivity provides a novel approach to screen biomarkers in exosomes secreted by melanoma cells, aiming to reduce the use of labeling reagents and the processing time traditionally required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341910
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Nov 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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