Extracellular Vesicles and their miRNA Cargo: A Means of Communication between Soma and Germline in the Mammalian Reproductive System

Chimia (Aarau). 2019 May 29;73(6):356-361. doi: 10.2533/chimia.2019.356.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs able to silence gene expression by RNA interference. They are present in cells but many are contained in extracellular vesicles (EVs) that can be released by cells in the circulation. Circulating EVs can encounter other cells in the body and deliver their miRNA cargo. This process enables long-range communication between different cells and has been proposed to play important physiological roles. One of these roles that remains less well studied is in the reproductive system. In ovaries and testes, constant communication between somatic cells and developing germ cells is necessary for their maturation and EVs have been proposed to contribute to this communication. EVs might also enable external factors derived from environmental exposure to reach gametes and keep a trace of exposure for the offspring.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Vesicles*
  • Genitalia
  • Germ Cells
  • Mammals
  • MicroRNAs
  • Reproduction


  • MicroRNAs