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Tissue Barriers. 2018;6(2):e1431038. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2018.1431038. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

Extracellular vesicles regulate immune responses and cellular function in intestinal inflammation and repair.

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a Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine , Department of Pathology , Chicago , IL , USA.


Tightly controlled communication among the various resident and recruited cells in the intestinal tissue is critical for maintaining tissue homeostasis, re-establishment of the barrier function and healing responses following injury. Emerging evidence convincingly implicates extracellular vesicles (EVs) in facilitating this important cell-to-cell crosstalk by transporting bioactive effectors and genetic information in healthy tissue and disease. While many aspects of EV biology, including release mechanisms, cargo packaging, and uptake by target cells are still not completely understood, EVs contribution to cellular signaling and function is apparent. Moreover, EV research has already sparked a clinical interest, as a potential diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tool. The current review will discuss the function of EVs originating from innate immune cells, namely, neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages, as well as intestinal epithelial cells in healthy tissue and inflammatory disorders of the intestinal tract. Our discussion will specifically emphasize the contribution of EVs to the regulation of vascular and epithelial barrier function in inflamed intestines, wound healing, as well as trafficking and activity of resident and recruited immune cells.


barrier; epithelial cells; exosomes; inflammation; macrophages; microRNAs; microparticles; neutrophils; vesicles; wound healing

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