Circulating extracellular vesicles are a biomarker for NAFLD resolution and response to weight loss surgery

Yasuhiko Nakao, Pouya Amrollahi, Gopanandan Parthasarathy, Amy S. Mauer, Tejasav S. Sehrawat, Patrick Vanderboom, K. Sreekumaran Nair, Kazuhiko Nakao, Alina M. Allen, Tony Y. Hu, Harmeet Malhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is increasing interest in the development of minimally invasive biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of NAFLD via extracellular vesicles (EV). Plasma EVs were isolated by differential ultracentrifugation and quantified by nanoparticle tracking analysis from pre (n = 28) and post (n = 28) weight loss patients. In the pre weight loss group 22 had NAFLD. Nanoplasmon enhanced scattering (nPES) of gold nanoparticles conjugated to hepatocyte-specific antibodies was employed to identify hepatocyte-specific EVs. Complex lipid panel and targeted sphingolipids were performed. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of NAFLD. Plasma levels of EVs and hepatocyte-derived EVs are dynamic and decrease following NAFLD resolution due to weight loss surgery. Hepatocyte-derived EVs correlate with steatosis in NAFLD patients and steatosis and inflammation in NASH patients. Plasma levels of small EVs correlate with EV sphingolipids in patients with NASH. Hepatocyte-derived EVs measured by the nPES assay could serve as a point-of-care test for NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102430
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Exosome
  • Fatty liver
  • Sphingolipid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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