Extracellular vesicles: masters of intercellular communication and potential clinical interventions

J Clin Invest. 2016 Apr 1;126(4):1139-43. doi: 10.1172/JCI87316. Epub 2016 Apr 1.


Intercellular signaling via extracellular vesicles (EVs) is an underappreciated modality of cell-cell crosstalk that enables cells to convey packages of complex instructions to specific recipient cells. EVs transmit these instructions through their cargoes of multiple proteins, nucleic acids, and specialized lipids, which are derived from their cells of origin and allow for combinatorial effects upon recipient cells. This Review series brings together the recent progress in our understanding of EV signaling in physiological and pathophysiological conditions, highlighting how certain EVs, particularly exosomes, can promote or regulate infections, host immune responses, development, and various diseases - notably cancer. Given the diverse nature of EVs and their abilities to profoundly modulate host cells, this series puts particular emphasis on the clinical applications of EVs as therapeutics and as diagnostic biomarkers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / immunology*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism
  • Exosomes / immunology*
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Infections / metabolism
  • Infections / therapy
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Biomarkers