Apoptotic cell-derived exosomes – messages from dying cells

Apoptosis, a type of programmed cell death that plays a key role in both healthy and pathological conditions, releases extracellular vesicles such as apoptotic bodies and microvesicles, but exosome release due to apoptosis is not yet commonly accepted. Researchers from Ajou University School of Medicine summarize the reports demonstrating the presence of apoptotic exosomes and their roles in inflammation and immune responses, together with a general summary of apoptosis and extracellular vesicles. In conclusion, apoptosis is not just a ‘silent’ type of cell death but an active form of communication from dying cells to live cells through exosomes.

Illustration depicting current findings on ApoExos


Biogenesis of ApoExos begins with S1P/S1PR signals on the plasma membrane and requires caspase 3 for maturation of MVBs. ApoExos are associated with various pathophysiologic events, such as vascular homeostasis, autoimmunity and the resultant graft rejection, sterile inflammation, and proliferation and survival of tumors.

Kakarla R, Hur J, Kim YJ, Kim J, Chwae YJ. (2020) Apoptotic cell-derived exosomes: messages from dying cells. Exp & Mol Med [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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