Importance of extracellular vesicles in hypertension

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2021 Feb;246(3):342-353. doi: 10.1177/1535370220974600. Epub 2020 Dec 6.


Hypertension affects approximately 1.13 billion adults worldwide and is the leading global risk factor for cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and kidney diseases. There is emerging evidence that extracellular vesicles participate in the development and progression of hypertension. Extracellular vesicles are membrane-enclosed structures released from nearly all types of eukaryotic cells. During their formation, extracellular vesicles incorporate various parent cell components, including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids that can be transferred to recipient cells. Extracellular vesicles mediate cell-to-cell communication in a variety of physiological and pathophysiological processes. Therefore, studying the role of circulating and urinary extracellular vesicles in hypertension has the potential to identify novel noninvasive biomarkers and therapeutic targets of different hypertension phenotypes. This review discusses the classification and biogenesis of three EV subcategories (exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies) and provides a summary of recent discoveries in the potential impact of extracellular vesicles on hypertension with a specific focus on their role in the blood pressure regulation by organs-artery and kidney, as well as renin-angiotensin-system.

Keywords: Hypertension; RAS; endothelium; extracellular vesicles; sodium transporter; vascular smooth muscle cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism*
  • Endothelium / cytology
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / pathology*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology


  • Biomarkers