Matrix Vesicles: Are They Anchored Exosomes?

Bone. 2015 Oct;79:29-36. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.05.013. Epub 2015 May 15.


Numerous studies have documented that matrix vesicles are unique extracellular membrane-bound microparticles that serve as initial sites for mineral formation in the growth plate and most other vertebrate mineralizing tissues. Microparticle generation is not confined to hard tissues, as cells in soft tissues generate similar structures; numerous studies have shown that a common type of extracellular particle, termed an exosome, a product of the endosomal pathway, shares many characteristics of matrix vesicles. Indeed, analyses of size, morphology and lipid and protein content indicate that matrix vesicles and exosomes are homologous structures. Such a possibility impacts our understanding of the biogenesis, processing and function of matrix vesicles (exosomes) in vertebrate hard tissues and explains in part how cells control the earliest stages of mineral deposition. Moreover, since exosomes influence a spectrum of functions, including cell-cell communication, it is suggested that this type of microparticle may provide a mechanism for the transfer of signaling molecules between cells within the growth plate and thereby regulate endochondral bone development and formation.

Keywords: Chondrocyte; Exosome; Growth plate; Matrix vesicle; Mineralization; Osteoblast.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / ultrastructure
  • Calcification, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Exosomes / physiology*
  • Exosomes / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Vesicles / physiology
  • Extracellular Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Humans