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Annu Rev Physiol. 2016;78:67-83. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021115-104929. Epub 2015 Nov 30.

Exosomes: Fundamental Biology and Roles in Cardiovascular Physiology.

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Capricor, Los Angeles, California 90211.
Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles, California 90048; email:


Exosomes are nanosized membrane particles that are secreted by cells that transmit information from cell to cell. The information within exosomes prominently includes their protein and RNA payloads. Exosomal microRNAs in particular can potently and fundamentally alter the transcriptome of recipient cells. Here we summarize what is known about exosome biogenesis, content, and transmission, with a focus on cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology. We also highlight some of the questions currently under active investigation regarding these extracellular membrane vesicles and their potential in diagnostic and therapeutic applications.


cardiovascular disease; extracellular vesicles; intracellular communication; microRNA; regenerative medicine; stem cells

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