Exosomes as nucleic acid nanocarriers

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013 Mar;65(3):331-5. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles produced naturally by many cell types. They are specifically loaded with nucleic acid cargo, dependent on the exosome-producing cell and its homeostatic state. As natural intercellular shuttles of miRNA, exosomes influence an array of developmental, physiological and pathological processes in the recipient cell or tissue to which they can be selectively targeted by their tetraspanin surface-domains. By a review of current research, we illustrate here why exosomes are ideal nanocarriers for use in the targeted in vivo delivery of nucleic acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nucleic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Particle Size


  • MicroRNAs
  • Nucleic Acids