Most cells can release extracellular vesicles (EVs), membrane vesicles containing various proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes, and signaling molecules. The exchange of EVs between cells facilitates intercellular communication, amplification of cellular responses, immune response modulation, and perhaps alterations in viral pathogenicity. EVs serve a dual role in inhibiting or enhancing viral infection and pathogenesis. This review examines the current literature on EVs to explore the complex role of EVs in the enhancement, inhibition, and potential use as a nanotherapeutic against clinically relevant viruses, focusing on neurotropic viruses: Zika virus (ZIKV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Overall, this review's scope will elaborate on EV-based mechanisms, which impact viral pathogenicity, facilitate viral spread, and modulate antiviral immune responses.
Keywords: HIV; ZIKA; coronavirus; exosomes; extracellular vesicles (EVs); herpes virus; pathology; retrovirus; therapeutics; viruses.