Astrocytes and Glioblastoma Cells Release Exosomes Carrying mtDNA

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2010 Jan;117(1):1-4. doi: 10.1007/s00702-009-0288-8. Epub 2009 Aug 13.


Cells can exchange information not only by means of chemical and/or electrical signals, but also via microvesicles released into the intercellular space. The present paper, for the first time, provides evidence that Glioblastoma and Astrocyte cells release microvesicles, which carry mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). These microvesicles have been characterised as exosomes in view of the presence of some protein markers of exosomes, such as Tsg101, CD9 and Alix. Thus, the important finding has been obtained that bonafide exosomes, constitutively released by Glioblastoma cells and Astrocytes, can carry mtDNA, which can be, therefore, transferred between cells. This datum may help the understanding of some diseases due to mitochondrial alterations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / metabolism
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Gene Dosage
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Tetraspanin 29
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD9 protein, human
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • PDCD6IP protein, human
  • Pdcd6ip protein, rat
  • Tetraspanin 29
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tsg101 protein