Zebrafish as a preclinical model for Extracellular Vesicle-based therapeutic development

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2021 Sep:176:113815. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.05.025. Epub 2021 May 29.


Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) are released during various pathophysiological processes and reflect the state of their cell of origin. Once released, they can propagate through biological fluids, target cells, deliver their content and elicit functional responses. These specific features would allow their harnessing as biomarkers, drug nano-vehicles and therapeutic intrinsic modulators. However, the further development of their potential therapeutic application is hampered by the lack of knowledge about how EVs behave in vivo. Recent advances in the field of imaging EVs in vivo now allow live-tracking of endogenous and exogenous EV in various model organisms at high spatiotemporal resolution to define their distribution, half-life and fate. This review highlights current imaging tools available to image EVs in vivo and how live imaging especially in the zebrafish embryo can bring further insights into the characterization of EVs dynamics, biodistribution and functions to potentiate their development for therapeutic applications.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Drug nano-vehicles; Extracellular Vesicles; In vivo imaging; Intrinsic modulators; Live imaging; Zebrafish embryo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers