Proteomic and genomic techniques have reached full maturity and are providing unforeseen details for the comprehensive understanding of disease pathologies at a fraction of previous costs. However, for kidney diseases, many gaps in such information remain to inhibit major advances in the prevention, treatment and diagnostics of these devastating diseases, which have enormous global impact. The discovery of ubiquitous extracellular vesicles (EV) in all bodily fluids is rapidly increasing the fundamental knowledge of disease mechanisms and the ways in which cells communicate with distant locations in processes of cancer spread, immunological regulation, barrier functions and general modulation of cellular activity. In this review, we describe some of the most prominent research streams and findings utilizing urinary extracellular vesicles as highly versatile and dynamic tools with their extraordinary protein and small regulatory RNA species. While being a highly promising approach, the relatively young field of EV research suffers from a lack of adherence to strict standardization and carefully scrutinized methods for obtaining fully reproducible results. With the appropriate guidelines and standardization achieved, urine is foreseen as forming a unique, robust and easy route for determining accurate and personalized disease signatures and as providing highly useful early biomarkers of the disease pathology of the kidney and beyond.
Keywords: Biomarkers; Extracellular vesicles; Kidney disease; MicroRNA; Urine.