Discovering the Secret of Diseases by Incorporated Tear Exosomes Analysis via Rapid-Isolation System: ITEARS

Liang Hu, Ting Zhang, Huixiang Ma, Youjin Pan, Siyao Wang, Xiaoling Liu, Xiaodan Dai, Yuyang Zheng, Luke P. Lee, Fei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Nanoscale small extracellular vesicles (sEVs, exosomes) in tears allow us to investigate the multisignatures of diseases. However, the translations of tear sEVs for biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics are practically limited by low recovery, long processing time, and small sample volume. Here, we report an incorporated tear-exosomes analysis via rapid-isolation system (iTEARS) via nanotechnology to discover the secrets of ocular disorders and systemic diseases. We isolate exosomes rapidly with high yield and purity from a few teardrops (∼10 μL) within 5 min via nanoporous membrane-based resonators for the quantitative detection and biomarker discovery through proteomic and transcriptomic analysis. We have identified 904 proteins, among which 228 proteins are discovered, 426 proteins are detected from exosomes of dry eye disease, and demonstrate CALML5, KRT6A, and S100P for the classification of dry eye disease. We have also investigated 484 miRNAs in tear exosomes and show miR-145-5p, miR-214-3p, miR-218-5p, and miR-9-5p are dysregulated during diabetic retinopathy development. We believe iTEARS can be used for improving molecular diagnostics via tears to identify ocular disorders, systemic diseases, and numerous other neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11720-11732
Number of pages13
JournalACS Nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.


  • biomarkers
  • diagnostics
  • extracellular vesicles
  • eye diseases
  • identification
  • nanotechnology
  • tears


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