Immunomodulatory role of microRNAs transferred by extracellular vesicles

Biol Cell. 2015 Mar;107(3):61-77. doi: 10.1111/boc.201400081. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


The immune system is composed of different cell types localised throughout the organism to sense and respond to pathological situations while maintaining homeostasis under physiological conditions. Intercellular communication between immune cells is essential to coordinate an effective immune response and involves both cell contact dependent and independent processes that ensure the transfer of information between bystander and distant cells. There is a rapidly growing body of evidence on the pivotal role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in cell communication and these structures are emerging as important mediators for immune modulation upon delivery of their molecular cargo. In the last decade, EVs have been shown to be efficient carriers of genetic information, including microRNAs (miRNAs), that can be transferred between cells and regulate gene expression and function on the recipient cell. Here, we review the current knowledge of intercellular functional transfer of EV-delivered miRNAs and their putative role in immune regulation.

Keywords: Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles (EVs); Immune modulation; Intercellular communication; MicroRNA (miRNA).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Extracellular Vesicles / genetics
  • Extracellular Vesicles / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / cytology*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / immunology*


  • MicroRNAs