Exosomes have many biological functions as short- and long distance nanocarriers for cell-to-cell communication. They allow the exchange of complex information between cells, and thereby modulate various processes such as homeostasis, immune response and angiogenesis, in both physiological and pathological conditions. In addition, due to their unique abilities of migration, targeting, and selective internalization into specific cells, they are promising delivery vectors. As such, they provide a potentially new field in diagnostics and treatment, and may serve as an alternative to cell-based therapeutic approaches. However, a major drawback for translating exosome treatment to the clinic is that current understanding of these endogenous vesicles is insufficient, especially in regards to their in vivo behavior. Tracking exosomes in vivo can provide important knowledge regarding their biodistribution, migration abilities, toxicity, biological role, communication capabilities, and mechanism of action. Therefore, the development of efficient, sensitive and biocompatible exosome labeling and imaging techniques is highly desired. Recent studies have developed different methods for exosome labeling and imaging, which have allowed for in vivo investigation of their bio-distribution, physiological functions, migration, and targeting mechanisms. These improved imaging capabilities are expected to greatly advance exosome-based nanomedicine applications.
Advances in imaging strategies for in vivo tracking of exosomes
Betzer O, Barnoy E, Sadan T, Elbaz I, Braverman C, Liu Z, Popovtzer R. (2019) Advances in imaging strategies for in vivo tracking of exosomes. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]