Role of Extracellular Vesicles in De Novo Mineralization: An Additional Novel Mechanism of Cardiovascular Calcification

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Abstract

Extracellular vesicles are membrane micro/nanovesicles secreted by many cell types into the circulation and the extracellular milieu in physiological and pathological conditions. Evidence suggests that extracellular vesicles, known as matrix vesicles, play a role in the mineralization of skeletal tissue, but emerging ultrastructural and in vitro studies have demonstrated their contribution to cardiovascular calcification as well. Cells involved in the progression of cardiovascular calcification release active vesicles capable of nucleating hydroxyapatite on their membranes. This review discusses the role of extracellular vesicles in cardiovascular calcification and elaborates on this additional mechanism of calcification as an alternative pathway to the currently accepted mechanism of biomineralization via osteogenic differentiation.

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