Extracellular vesicles in the pathogenesis and treatment of acute lung injury

Mil Med Res. 2022 Nov 1;9(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s40779-022-00417-9.


Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are common life-threatening lung diseases associated with acute and severe inflammation. Both have high mortality rates, and despite decades of research on clinical ALI/ARDS, there are no effective therapeutic strategies. Disruption of alveolar-capillary barrier integrity or activation of inflammatory responses leads to lung inflammation and injury. Recently, studies on the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in regulating normal and pathophysiologic cell activities, including inflammation and injury responses, have attracted attention. Injured and dysfunctional cells often secrete EVs into serum or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid with altered cargoes, which can be used to diagnose and predict the development of ALI/ARDS. EVs secreted by mesenchymal stem cells can also attenuate inflammatory reactions associated with cell dysfunction and injury to preserve or restore cell function, and thereby promote cell proliferation and tissue regeneration. This review focuses on the roles of EVs in the pathogenesis of pulmonary inflammation, particularly ALI/ARDS.

Keywords: Acute lung injury (ALI); Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); Extracellular vesicles (EVs); Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Pulmonary inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury* / etiology
  • Acute Lung Injury* / therapy
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / physiology
  • Pneumonia*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / therapy