Review article

Exosomes: new molecular targets of diseases

Authors: Saheli SAMANTA1, Sheeja RAJASINGH1, Nicholas DROSOS1, Zhigang ZHOU1, Buddhadeb DAWN1, Johnson RAJASINGH1,2
1 Cardiovascular Research Institute, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine
2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
Corresponding to: Johnson RAJASINGH:,
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2017.162
Received: 7 December 2017
Accepted: 13 June 2017
Advance online: 12 September 2017


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) comprise apoptotic bodies, microvesicles and exosomes, and they perform as key regulators in cell-to-cell communication in normal as well as diseased states. EVs contain natural cargo molecules, such as miRNA, mRNA and proteins, and transfer these functional cargos to neighboring cells or more distant cells through circulation. These functionally active molecules then affect distinct signaling cascades. The message conveyed to the recipient cells is dependent upon the composition of the EV, which is determined by the parent cell and the EV biogenesis. Because of their properties such as increased stability in circulation, biocompatibility, low immunogenicity and toxicity, EVs have drawn attention as attractive delivery systems for therapeutics. This review focuses on the functional use of exosomes in therapy and the potential advantages and challenges in using exosomes for therapeutic purposes.
Keywords: exosomes; microvesicles; noncoding RNAs; biomarker; drug delivery; exosome mimics