Exosomes: Carriers of Pro-Fibrotic Signals and Therapeutic Targets in Fibrosis

Author(s): Mengyu Li, Mao Jiang, Jie Meng*, Lijian Tao*.

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 25 , Issue 42 , 2019

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Exosomes are nano-sized extracellular vesicles that are released by a variety of cells. Exosomes contain cargo from cells they derived, including lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. The bilayer lipid membrane structure of exosomes protects these contents from degradation, allowing them for intercellular communication. The role of exosomes in fibrotic diseases is increasingly being valued. Exosomes, as carriers of profibrotic signals, are involved in the development of fibrotic diseases, and also regulate fibrosis by transmitting signals that inhibit fibrosis or inflammation. Exosomes mobilize and activate a range of effector cells by targeted delivery of bioactive information. Exosomes can also reflect the condition of cells, tissues and organisms, and thus become potential biomarkers of fibrotic diseases. Exosomes from bone marrow stem cells support biological signaling that regulates and inhibits fibrosis and thus initially used in the treatment of fibrotic diseases. This article briefly summarizes the role of exosomes in the pathogenesis and treatment of fibrotic diseases and raises some issues that remain to be resolved.

Keywords: Exosomes, fibrosis, hepatic stellate cells, macrophages, epithelials, fibrocite, podocyte, mesenchymal stem cell.

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