The exosome: a review of current therapeutic roles and capabilities in human reproduction

Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2022 Aug 18. doi: 10.1007/s13346-022-01225-3. Online ahead of print.


Exosomes are nano-vesicles (30-150 nm) which may be useful as therapeutic delivery vehicles and as diagnostic biomarkers. Exosomes are produced naturally within the human body and therefore are not prone to immunogenicity effects which would otherwise destroy unelicited foreign bodies. Clinically, they have been regarded as ideal candidates for applications relating to biomarker developments for the early detection of different diseases. Furthermore, exosomes may be of interest as potential drug delivery vehicles, which may improve factors such as bioavailability of loaded molecular cargo, side effect profiles, off-target effects, and pharmacokinetics of drug molecules. In this review, the therapeutic potential of exosomes and their use as clinical biomarkers for early diagnostics will be explored, alongside exosomes as therapeutic delivery vehicles. This review will evaluate techniques for cargo loading, and the capacity of loaded exosomes to improve various reproductive disease states. It becomes important, therefore, to consider factors such as loading efficiency, loading methods, cell viability, exosomal sources, exosome isolation, and the potential therapeutic benefits of exosomes. Issues related to targeted drug delivery will also be discussed. Finally, the variety of therapeutic cargo and the application of appropriate loading methods is explored, in the context of establishing clinical utility. Exosomes have more recently been widely accpeted as potential tools for disease diagnostics and the targeted delivery of certain therapeutic molecules-and in due time exosomes will be utilised more commonly within the clinical setting. Specifically, exosomal biomarkers can be identified and related to various detrimental conditions which occur during pregnancy. Considering, this review will explore the potential future of exosomes as both diagnostic tools and therapeutic delivery vehicles to treat related conditions, including the challenges which exist towards incorporating exosomes within the clinical environment to benefit patients.

Keywords: Drug delivery; Exosomal biomarkers; Exosome cargo loading; Nanomedicine; Nanotherapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review