Extracellular Vesicles: Catching the Light in Zebrafish

Trends Cell Biol. 2019 Oct;29(10):770-776. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2019.07.007. Epub 2019 Aug 7.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) circulate in the body fluids of all organisms where they participate in intercellular cross-organ communication. Tracking and understanding these nanosized objects has been hampered by the low resolution of imaging techniques and by the lack of appropriate animal models. The use of zebrafish embryos permits visualization of EVs at unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution using light and electron microscopy. This enables the study of endogenous physiological EVs and pathological EVs side by side, and further unravels their mechanisms of biogenesis, biodistribution, and target cells throughout the organism. These developments will contribute to a better understanding of the in vivo (patho)physiology of EVs.

Keywords: circulation; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; high-resolution imaging; in vivo; zebrafish.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis
  • Zebrafish