Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles, are lipid bilayer particles naturally released from the cell. While exosomes are formed as intraluminal vesicles (ILVs) of the multivesicular endosomes (MVEs) and released to extracellular space upon MVE-plasma membrane fusion, microvesicles are generated through direct outward budding of the plasma membrane. Exosomes and microvesicles have same membrane orientation, different yet overlapping sizes; their cargo contents are selectively packed and dependent on the source cell type and functional state. Both exosomes and microvesicles can transfer bioactive RNAs, proteins, lipids, and metabolites from donor to recipient cells and influence the biological properties of the latter. Over the last decade, their potential roles as effective inter-tissue communicators in cardiovascular physiology and pathology have been increasingly appreciated. In addition, EVs are attractive sources of biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases, because they acquire their complex cargoes through cellular processes intimately linked to disease pathogenesis. Furthermore, EVs obtained from various stem/progenitor cell populations have been tested as cell-free therapy in various preclinical models of cardiovascular diseases and demonstrate unequivocally encouraging benefits. Here we summarize the findings from recent research on the biological functions of EVs in the ischemic heart disease and heart failure, and their potential as novel diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic opportunities.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.