Insights of exosomes in neurodegenerative diseases

Exosomes are small membranous entities of endocytic origin. Their production by a wide variety of cells in eukaryotes implicates their roles in the execution of essential processes, especially cellular communication. Exosomes are secreted under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions, and their actions on neighboring and distant cells lead to the modulations of cellular behaviors. They also assist in the delivery of disease causing entities, such as prions, α-syn, and tau, and thus, facilitate spread to non-effected regions and accelerate the progressions of neurodegenerative diseases. The characterization of exosomes, provides information on aberrant processes, and thus, exosome analysis has many clinical applications. Because they are associated with the transport of different cellular entities across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), exosomes might be useful for delivering drugs and other therapeutic molecules to brain. Researchers from Yeungnam University discuss the roles played by exosomes in different neurodegenerative diseases, and the possibilities of using them as diagnostic biomarkers of disease progression, drug delivery vehicles and in gene therapy.

Exosome production and neurodegeneration


(A) Localization of aggregated or misfolded proteins credited for their roles in the neurodegeneration in different neuronal cells. (B) Exosome production in neuronal cells. The abilities of exosomes to carry disease causing entities to neighboring and distant localized cells contributes to the aggravation of neurological diseases. Similarly, their transport across blood brain barrier (BBB) helps in reducing the possible emergence of different neurological diseases.

Jan AT, Malik MA, Rahman S, Yeo HR, Lee EJ, Abdullah TS, Choi I. (2017) Perspective Insights of Exosomes in Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Critical Appraisal. Front Aging Neurosci 9:317. [article]

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