Extracellular vesicles for tissue repair and regeneration: Evidence, challenges and opportunities

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2021 Apr 17;175:113775. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.04.013. Online ahead of print.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are biological nanoparticles naturally secreted by cells, acting as delivery vehicles for molecular messages. During the last decade, EVs have been assigned multiple functions that have established their potential as therapeutic mediators for a variety of diseases and conditions. In this review paper, we report on the potential of EVs in tissue repair and regeneration. The regenerative properties that have been associated with EVs are explored, detailing the molecular cargo they carry that is capable of mediating such effects, the signaling cascades triggered in target cells and the functional outcome achieved. EV interactions and biodistribution in vivo that influence their regenerative effects are also described, particularly upon administration in combination with biomaterials. Finally, we review the progress that has been made for the successful implementation of EV regenerative therapies in a clinical setting.

Keywords: Clinical trial; EV engineering; EV-functionalized biomaterials; Mesenchymal stem cells; Regenerative medicine; Therapeutic cargo delivery.

Publication types

  • Review