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The Role of Exosomes and Exosome-derived microRNAs in Atherosclerosis

[ Vol. 23 , Issue. 40 ]


Xinjie Lu*   Pages 6182 - 6193 ( 12 )


Background: Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death and morbidity throughout industrialized nations, accounting for one-fifth of all deaths globally. Exosomes are bi-lipid membranous vesicles containing protein, lipid and nucleic acid contents that are released from the cells via the endolysosomal pathway. Exosomes are derived from several cells including macrophages, dendritic cells, platelets as well as human serum.

Methods: In this review, an overview of recent advances, the evidence for the role of exosomes and exosomederived microRNAs (miRNAs) in atherosclerosis are provided.

Results: Recent evidence has shown that exosomes derived from the cells mentioned above are involved in atherosclerosis, whose secretion appears to be regulated by various natural and experimental stimuli, physiological and pathological processes.

Conclusion: Exosomes are now accepted as specifically secreted vesicles that enable intercellular communications and have become exponentially interesting to be used as the possible relevant biomarkers in disease development such as cadiovascular disease, particular in atherosclerosis in addition to their minimally invasive clinical diagnosis.


Atherosclerosis, exosome, microRNA, MMP, CVD, vesicles.


The Mary and Garry Weston Molecular Immunology Laboratory, Thrombosis Research Institute, London, SW3 6LR

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