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Theranostics. 2017 Sep 26;7(17):4168-4182. doi: 10.7150/thno.21274. eCollection 2017.

Extracellular Vesicles in Cardiovascular Theranostics.

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Cardiac Regeneration and Ageing Lab, School of Life Science, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China.
Cardiovascular Division of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Experimental Cardiology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Pharmaceutical Science Post-Graduation Program, Health Science Institute, Federal University of Pará/UFPA, Belém, PA 66075900, Brazil.
School of Pharmacy, Health Science Institute, Federal University of Pará/UFPA, Belém, PA 66075900, Brazil.
Institute for Heart Research, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik II, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, 53127, Bonn, Germany.
Cardiovascular Research Institute, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small bilayer lipid membrane vesicles that can be released by most cell types and detected in most body fluids. EVs exert key functions for intercellular communication via transferring their bioactive cargos to recipient cells or activating signaling pathways in target cells. Increasing evidence has shown the important regulatory effects of EVs in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). EVs secreted by cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and stem cells play essential roles in pathophysiological processes such as cardiac hypertrophy, cardiomyocyte survival and apoptosis, cardiac fibrosis, and angiogenesis in relation to CVDs. In this review, we will first outline the current knowledge about the physical characteristics, biological contents, and isolation methods of EVs. We will then focus on the functional roles of cardiovascular EVs and their pathophysiological effects in CVDs, as well as summarize the potential of EVs as therapeutic agents and biomarkers for CVDs. Finally, we will discuss the specific application of EVs as a novel drug delivery system and the utility of EVs in the field of regenerative medicine.


Extracellular vesicles; biomarkers.; cardiovascular diseases; exosomes; microvesicles; therapeutic agents

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