Pathogenesis of Viral Hepatitis-Induced Chronic Liver Disease: Role of Extracellular Vesicles

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Nov 10;10:587628. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.587628. eCollection 2020.


Extracellular vesicles are encapsulated lipid nanoparticles secreted by a variety of cell types in living organisms. They are known to carry proteins, metabolites, nucleic acids, and lipids as their cargoes and are important mediators of intercellular communication. The role of extracellular vesicles in chronic liver disease has been reported. Chronic liver disease such as viral hepatitis accounts for a significant mortality and morbidity burden worldwide. Hepatic fibrosis has been commonly associated with the chronic form of viral hepatitis, which results in end-stage liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure, and carcinoma in some patients. In this review, we discuss the potential role of extracellular vesicles in mediating communication between infectious agents (hepatitis B and C viruses) and host cells, and how these complex cell-cell interactions may facilitate the development of chronic liver disease. We will further discuss how understanding their biological mechanism of action might be beneficial for developing therapeutic strategies to treat chronic liver disease.

Keywords: biomarker; chronic liver disease; extracellular vesicles; hepatic fibrosis; therapy.

Publication types

  • Review