Scientists have suggested diagnosing diseases by analyzing tears

(ORDO NEWS) — In a new study, scientists from China and the United States reported on the development of a nanoporous iTEARS system that can diagnose various eye diseases, systemic (multi-organ), neurodegenerative and cancerous diseases by analyzing patient tears.

In order to correctly diagnose a patient, it is necessary to reliably assess the symptoms he has, which can often be invisible in the early stages or change with the progression of the disease.

To improve the accuracy, speed and convenience of diagnosis, modern clinical research is focused on the development of non-invasive methods for the simultaneous detection of a number of diseases.

Analysis of exosomes nanosized extracellular vesicles containing various metabolites, proteins, lipids, and regulatory RNAs is just one of such promising non-invasive diagnostic methods.

It allows obtaining reliable information about the state of exosome-producing cells and tissues, identifying biological markers of diseases in the contents of these vesicles, which will help to make a correct diagnosis with high accuracy, as well as monitor the development or success of treatment of progressive diseases.

Exosomes can be found in a wide variety of biological secretions of the body – blood, urine, saliva and tears.

However, modern methods for isolating exosomes from biological fluid samples require long and complex processing steps or large volumes of material.

Tears are well suited as a material because they can be collected quickly and non-invasively, although in extremely small quantities.

Therefore, researchers from Wenzhou Medical University (China) and Harvard Medical School (USA) have developed a special nanoporous membrane system for the analysis of exosomes from lacrimal secretions, capable of working with such microvolumes.

The scientists presented a detailed description of their system in an article published in the ACS Nano journal of the American Chemical Society.

Scientists have suggested diagnosing diseases by analyzing tears 2
Brief description of iTEARS system operation scheme

The development of the team of researchers is, in fact, a modification of the original system that worked with urine and blood plasma samples.

After sample collection, the system, called iTEARS (“Integrated Analysis of Tear Exosomes with Rapid Isolation System”), allows exosomes to be isolated from the tear fluid in just five minutes of filtration through nanoporous membranes.

Nucleic acids and proteins are then isolated from these extracellular vesicles and analyzed on another device.

The analysis of more than 900 exosome-derived proteins successfully distinguished patients with different types of dry eye syndrome and distinguished those who did not have any ophthalmic diseases.

Similarly, iTEARS helped to capture differences in the composition of exosomal miRNAs in patients with diabetic retinopathy and healthy controls. Moreover, the authors suggest that their system can also track the progression of this disease over time.

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