Exosomes: The emerging mechanisms and potential clinical applications in dermatology

Int J Biol Sci. 2024 Feb 25;20(5):1778-1795. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.92897. eCollection 2024.


Skin tissue, composed of epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue, is the largest organ of the human body. It serves as a protective barrier against pathogens and physical trauma and plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis. Skin diseases, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and vitiligo, are prevalent and can seriously impact the quality of patient life. Exosomes are lipid bilayer vesicles derived from multiple cells with conserved biomarkers and are important mediators of intercellular communication. Exosomes from skin cells, blood, and stem cells, are the main types of exosomes that are involved in modulating the skin microenvironment. The dysregulation of exosome occurrence and transmission, as well as alterations in their cargoes, are crucial in the complex pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune skin diseases. Therefore, exosomes are promising diagnostic and therapeutic targets for skin diseases. Importantly, exogenous exosomes, derived from skin cells or stem cells, play a role in improving the skin environment and repairing damaged tissues by carrying various specific active substances and involving a variety of pathways. In the domain of clinical practice, exosomes have garnered attention as diagnostic biomarkers and prospective therapeutic agents for skin diseases, including psoriasis and vitiligo. Furthermore, clinical investigations have substantiated the regenerative efficacy of stem cell-derived exosomes in skin repair. In this review, we mainly summarize the latest studies about the mechanisms and applications of exosomes in dermatology, including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, diabetic wound healing, hypertrophic scar and keloid, and skin aging. This will provide a novel perspective of exosomes in the diagnosis and treatment of dermatosis.

Keywords: autoimmune skin disease; exosomes; inflammatory skin disease; skin; skin regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dermatology*
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Psoriasis*
  • Vitiligo* / metabolism


  • Biomarkers