Extracellular vesicles: interneural shuttles of complex messages

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Aug;39:101-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.04.016. Epub 2016 May 13.


A core function of neural cells is the exchange and integration of information. Extracellular vesicles such as exosomes and microvesicles recently entered the scene of neuroscience as novel vehicles transmitting complex signals between neural cells. Carrying a defined but mixed cargo of biomolecules, extracellular vesicles possess versatile biological activities with the ability to profoundly modulate the molecular configuration and behaviour of target cells. Extracellular vesicles are suggested to carry out functions during neural development and maintenance, they appear to spread neuropathology and furthermore, convey neuroprotection and regeneration. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of this sophisticated cellular crosstalk will fundamentally improve our insight in complex intercellular processes in the healthy and diseased nervous system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*