Exosomes in Parkinson Disease

Parkinson disease (PD) is a prevalent neurodegenerative disease, in which the formation of misfolded and aggregated α‐synuclein is a key neuropathological hallmark. Recent studies reveal that extracellular vesicles such as exosomes present a potential mechanism for propagation of pathological α‐synuclein throughout the brain. The ability of exosomes to transport proteins and genetic material between cells, including mRNA and microRNAs which have been implicated in PD pathology, provides critical insights as to how exosomes may contribute to pathological progression in PD. Advances have also been made in the investigation of exosomes as potential tools for the modulation of Parkinson’s pathology; their detection extracellularly may facilitate their use as biomarkers, whilst their small size could be utilised as vectors for the delivery of therapeutics. Researchers at Florida International University highlight our current knowledge of the role of exosomes in PD and potential clinical application.

Potential roles of exosomes in neuropathology and clinical applications


Exosomes can bi-directionally transfer proteins and genetic material between neurons and glial cells such as microglia and astrocytes. Such cell-cell interactions contribute to pathological progression and spread in neurodegenerative diseases such as PD. On the other hand, exosomes and other exosome-like extracellular vesicles have also been investigated as potential tools for the delivery of therapeutics and biomarkers.

Pinnell JR, Cui M, Tieu K. (2020) Exosomes in Parkinson Disease. J of Neuro [online preprint]. [abstract]

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