Extracellular Vesicles in Metabolism and Metabolic Diseases

Subcell Biochem. 2021;97:393-410. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-67171-6_15.


As living organisms constantly need energy to maintain and perform cellular functions, metabolism plays a vital role in producing the required energy to execute these processes. Hence, various metabolic pathways are highly regulated and disruption in critical pathways can result in the onset of multiple disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidaemia. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-bound nanosized vesicles that are known to be secreted by various cell types into their respective extracellular environment. EVs have been implicated in cell-to-cell communication via mediating cellular signaling and can functionally impact recipient cells with the transport of bioactive proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and cellular metabolites. Recently, several studies have highlighted the role of EVs in metabolism. Alterations in the plasma derived EV concentration and their cargo in patients with metabolic disorders have been reported by multiple studies, further proposing EVs as a potential source of disease biomarkers. The following chapter will discuss the functional significance of EVs in metabolic diseases and the processes by which EVs act as cellular messengers to reprogram the metabolic machinery in recipient cells.

Keywords: Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; Metabolism; Metabolites.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Communication
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases* / metabolism