Effect of Ethanol on Exosome Biogenesis: Possible Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications

Vaishnavi Sundar, Viswanathan Saraswathi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Most eukaryotic cells, including hepatocytes, secrete exosomes into the extracellular space, which are vesicles facilitating horizontal cell-to-cell communication of molecular signals and physiological cues. The molecular cues for cellular functions are carried by exosomes via specific mRNAs, microRNAs, and proteins. Exosomes released by liver cells are a vital part of biomolecular communication in liver diseases. Importantly, exosomes play a critical role in mediating alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) and are potential biomarkers for ALD. Moreover, alcohol exposure itself promotes exosome biogenesis and release from the livers of humans and rodent models. However, the mechanisms by which alcohol promotes exosome biogenesis in hepatocytes are still unclear. Of note, alcohol exposure leads to liver injury by modulating various cellular processes, including autophagy, ER stress, oxidative stress, and epigenetics. Evidence suggests that there is a link between each of these processes with exosome biogenesis. The aim of this review article is to discuss the interplay between ethanol exposure and these altered cellular processes in promoting hepatocyte exosome biogenesis and release. Based on the available literature, we summarize and discuss the potential mechanisms by which ethanol induces exosome release from hepatocytes, which in turn leads to the progression of ALD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number222
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • alcohol-associated liver disease
  • cirrhosis
  • ethanol
  • exosomes
  • hepatocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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