Table 1

Guide on extracellular vesicle (EV) subcategories by size, formation and formation-associated markers2 11 12 147

EV categorySize (nm)FormationMarker
Exosome
(small EV)
30–150Endosome fuses with the plasma membrane and releases exosomeESCRT and associated proteins
Microvesicle
(medium/large EVs)
100–1000Bud directly from the plasma membraneCytoskeletal and plasma membrane proteins (actinin, tetraspanins*)
Apoptotic body
(larger EVs)
50–5000Released by cells undergoing apoptosisProteins associated with the nucleus, Golgi, endoplasmic reticulum and other cellular organelles
  • *indicates markers which are used in more then one subcategory

  • ESCRT, endosomal sorting complexes required for transport.