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Neural Regen Res. 2020 May;15(5):796-801. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.268893.

Exosomes as mediators of neuron-glia communication in neuroinflammation.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Pathology of Alcohol, Príncipe Felipe Research Center; Department of Physiology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Pathology of Alcohol, Príncipe Felipe Research Center, Valencia, Spain.


In recent years, a type of extracellular vesicles named exosomes has emerged that play an important role in intercellular communication under physiological and pathological conditions. These nanovesicles (30-150 nm) contain proteins, RNAs and lipids, and their internalization by bystander cells could alter their normal functions. This review focuses on recent knowledge about exosomes as messengers of neuron-glia communication and their participation in the physiological and pathological functions in the central nervous system. Special emphasis is placed on the role of exosomes under toxic or pathological stimuli within the brain, in which the glial exosomes containing inflammatory molecules are able to communicate with neurons and contribute to the pathogenesis of neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disorders. Given the small size and characteristics of exosomes, they can cross the blood-brain barrier and be used as biomarkers and diagnosis for brain disorders and neuropathologies. Finally, although the application potential of exosome is still limited, current studies indicate that exosomes represent a promising strategy to gain pathogenic information to identify therapeutically targets and biomarkers for neurological disorders and neuroinflammation.


biomarkers; exosomes; glial cells; neuroinflammation; neuron-glia commuication; neurons; neuropathology; therapy

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