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Exosomes are small (100nm) membrane-bound extracellular vesicles released by various types of cells into biological fluids. They contain proteins, mRNAs and miRNAs as cargo. Different cell types can take up exosomes by endocytosis and the cargo contained within them can be transferred horizontally to these recipient cells. Exosomal proteins and miRNAs can be functional and regulate physiological cell events modifying the microenvironment in target cells, a key event of liver pathology. Exosome-mediated cell-cell communication can alter tumor growth, cell migration, antiviral infection and hepatocyte regeneration, indicating that exosomes have great potential for development as diagnostic or therapeutic tools. Analyses of circulating total or exosomal miRNAs have identified a large number of candidate miRNAs that are regulated in liver diseases, and the diagnostic testing using single or multiple miRNAs shows good sensitivity and specificity. Some candidate miRNAs have been identified to play an important role in various liver disorders. This review summarizes recent findings on the role of extracellular vesicles in liver diseases and their diagnostic and therapeutic potential, mainly focusing on exosomes but also includes microvesicles in liver pathology.
author list (cited authors)
Sato, K., Meng, F., Glaser, S., & Alpini, G.