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Neural Regen Res. 2020 Apr;15(4):586-596. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.266908.

Extracellular vesicles in the diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system diseases.

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Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology, Kazan Federal University, Kazan, Russia.
Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology, Kazan Federal University, Kazan; Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, The Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire, UK.


Extracellular vesicles, including exosomes and microvesicles, play a fundamental role in the activity of the nervous system, participating in signal transmission between neurons and providing the interaction of central nervous system with all body systems. In many neurodegenerative diseases, neurons pack toxic substances into vesicles and release them into the extracellular space, which leads to the spread of misfolded neurotoxic proteins. The contents of neuron-derived extracellular vesicles may indicate pathological changes in the central nervous system, and the analysis of extracellular vesicle molecular content contributes to the development of non-invasive methods for the diagnosis of many central nervous system diseases. Extracellular vesicles of neuronal origin can be isolated from various biological fluids due to their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Today, the diagnostic potential of almost all toxic proteins involved in nervous system disease pathogenesis, specifically α-synuclein, tau protein, superoxide dismutase 1, FUS, leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, as well as some synaptic proteins, has been well evidenced. Special attention is paid to extracellular RNAs mostly associated with extracellular vesicles, which are important in the onset and development of many neurodegenerative diseases. Depending on parental cell type, extracellular vesicles may have different therapeutic properties, including neuroprotective, regenerative, and anti-inflammatory. Due to nano size, biosafety, ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, possibility of targeted delivery and the lack of an immune response, extracellular vesicles are a promising vehicle for the delivery of therapeutic substances for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and drug delivery to the brain. This review describes modern approaches of diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system diseases using extracellular vesicles.


biomarkers; cell-mediated therapy; central nervous system diseases; diagnosis; exosomes; extracellular RNAs; extracellular vesicles; microRNAs; microvesicles; neurodegenerative diseases


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