Exosomes – From Garbage Bins to Promising Therapeutic Targets


Intercellular communication via cell-released vesicles is a very important process for both normal and tumor cells. Cell communication may involve exosomes, small vesicles of endocytic origin that are released by all types of cells and are found in abundance in body fluids, including blood, saliva, urine, and breast milk. Exosomes have been shown to carry lipids, proteins, mRNAs, non-coding RNAs, and even DNA out of cells. They are more than simply molecular garbage bins, however, in that the molecules they carry can be taken up by other cells. Thus, exosomes transfer biological information to neighboring cells and through this cell-to-cell communication are involved not only in physiological functions such as cell-to-cell communication, but also in the pathogenesis of some diseases, including tumors and neurodegenerative conditions. Our increasing understanding of why cells release exosomes and their role in intercellular communication has revealed the very complex and sophisticated contribution of exosomes to health and disease.

Rashed MH, Bayraktar E, Hela GK, Abd-Ellah MF, Amero P, Chavez-Reyes A, Rodriguez-Aguayo C. (2017) Exosomes: From Garbage Bins to Promising Therapeutic Targets. Int J Mol Sci 18(3), 538. [article]

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