Exosome in intestinal mucosal immunity

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Oct;31(10):1694-1699. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13413.


Intercellular communication of immune cells is critical to elicit efficient inflammatory responses. In intestinal mucosa, imbalance in pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators, especially cytokines and chemokines, characterizes the underlying immune mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease. Exosomes, small membrane vesicles secreted into the extracellular environment, are emerging as another important intercellular messenger in immune responses. A major recent breakthrough in this field unveils the capacity of exosomes to mediate the functional transfer of genetic materials (mRNAs and miRNAs) between immune cells. RAB27A and RAB27B are two small GTPases involved in exosome secretion. With respect to intestinal mucosal immunity, increased number of RAB27A-positive immune cells and RAB27B-positive immune cells are demonstrated in the colonic mucosa of patients with active ulcerative colitis as compared with that of healthy controls. This indicates the important role of exosome-mediated immune responses in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Here, we will discuss the immune properties of exosomes and recent advances in their function with a special focus on intestinal mucosal immunity.

Keywords: Exosome; Rab27A; Rab27B; inflammatory bowel disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Colon / immunology
  • Colon / pathology
  • Exosomes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • rab27 GTP-Binding Proteins


  • rab27 GTP-Binding Proteins
  • RAB27A protein, human
  • Rab27B protein, human
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins