Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an immune-mediated chronic inflammatory disease. Although the etiology is uncertain, there is marked disbalance of mucosal immune responses in part shaped by genetic susceptibility and intestinal microbial dysbiosis. Suppressing inflammatory activity adequately and maintaining this suppression are the main goals of current therapies. However, corticosteroids are only suitable for therapy of active disease, and the effects of immunosuppressive agents are mainly limited to maintenance of remission. Biologics have become widely available and provide therapeutic benefits to IBD patients. However, only a part of patients benefits from them. Thus, there is an urgent need for the development of new substances in the therapy of IBD. Exosomes are nanosized lipid vesicles identified recently. They are secreted from all living cells and then distributed in various human body fluids. The components, such as microRNAs and functional proteins, secreted by exosomes in different cells have been reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of IBD. Therefore, exosomes have the potential to become appealing particles in treating IBD as a cell-free therapeutic approach as well as biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring disease status. Further studies are needed to investigate the practicality, safety and desirable effects of exosomes in clinical applications in IBD.
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