Extracellular Vesicles in Angiogenesis

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Abstract

During the past decade, extracellular vesicles (EVs), which include apoptotic bodies, microvesicles, and exosomes, have emerged as important players in cell-to-cell communication in normal physiology and pathological conditions. EVs encapsulate and convey various bioactive molecules that are further transmitted to neighboring or more distant cells, where they induce various signaling cascades. The message delivered to the target cells is dependent on EV composition, which, in turn, is determined by the cell of origin and the surrounding microenvironment during EV biogenesis. Among their multifaceted role in the modulation of biological responses, the involvement of EVs in vascular development, growth, and maturation has been widely documented and their potential therapeutic application in regenerative medicine or angiogenesis-related diseases is drawing increasing interest. EVs derived from various cell types have the potential to deliver complex information to endothelial cells and to induce either pro- or antiangiogenic signaling. As dynamic systems, in response to changes in the microenvironment, EVs adapt their cargo composition to fine-tune the process of blood vessel formation. This article reviews the current knowledge on the role of microvesicles and exosomes from various cellular origins in angiogenesis, with a particular emphasis on the underlying mechanisms, and discusses the main challenges and prerequisites for their therapeutic applications.

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