Small but significant – Insights and new perspectives of exosomes in cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a major health problem worldwide, and health professionals are still actively seeking new and effective approaches for CVDs treatment. Presently, extracellular vesicles, particularly exosomes, have gained its popularity for CVDs treatment because of their function as messengers for inter‐ and extra‐cellular communications to promote cellular functions in cardiovascular system. However, as a newly developed field, researchers are still trying to fully understand the role of exosomes, and their mechanism in mediating cardiac repair process. Therefore, a comprehensive review of this topic can be timely and favourable.

Zhengzhou University researchers discuss the basic biogenesis and characterization of exosomes and then further extended the focus on the circulating exosomes in cellular communication and stem cell‐derived exosomes in cardiac disease treatment. In addition, they cover interactions between the heart and other organs through exosomes, leading to the diagnostic characteristics of exosomes in CVDs. Future perspectives and limitations of exosomes in CVDs are also discussed with a special focus on exploring the potential delivery routes, targeting the injured tissue and engineering novel exosomes, as well as its potential as one novel target in the metabolism‐related puzzle.

Exosomes mediated effect on cardiac microenvironment


Cardiac‐related exosomes could have several effects on recipient cells. At the original cardiac tissue site, the microenvironment could be regulated by the complex interaction with exosomes derived from surrounding cells, including cardiomyocytes, macrophages, cardiac fibroblasts and other cardiac cells. The secretion of exosomes (exRNAs, proteins, etc) may directly participate in extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling involved in the inflammatory process in the local area, cell apoptosis, fibroblasts differentiation, cardiac hypertrophy, new vessel formation and so on

Zhang J, Cui X, Guo J, et al. (2020) Small but significant: Insights and new perspectives of exosomes in cardiovascular disease. J Cell Mol Med [online ahead of print]. [article]

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