Exosomal Proteins and miRNAs as Mediators of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Sep 10;9:718803. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.718803. eCollection 2021.


Recent advances in the neurobiology and neurogenerative diseases have attracted growing interest in exosomes and their ability to carry and propagate active biomolecules as a means to reprogram recipient cells. Alterations in exosomal protein content and nucleic acid profiles found in human biological fluids have been correlated with various diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In ALS pathogenesis, these lipid-bound nanoscale vesicles have emerged as valuable candidates for diagnostic biomarkers. Moreover, their capacity to spread misfolded proteins and functional non-coding RNAs to interconnected neuronal cells make them putative mediators for the progressive motor degeneration found remarkably apparent in ALS. This review outlines current knowledge concerning the biogenesis, heterogeneity, and function of exosomes in the brain as well as a comprehensive probe of currently available literature on ALS-related exosomal proteins and microRNAs. Lastly, with the rapid development of employing nanoparticles for drug delivery, we explore the therapeutic potentials of exosomes as well as underlying limitations in current isolation and detection methodologies.

Keywords: ALS; exosomes; miRNA; nanotechnology; protein misfolding.

Publication types

  • Review