Strategies for the use of Extracellular Vesicles for the Delivery of Therapeutics

Susmita Sil, Raghubendra Singh Dagur, Ke Liao, Eric S. Peeples, Guoku Hu, Palsamy Periyasamy, Shilpa Buch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanosized, membrane-bound vesicles released from eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells that can transport cargo containing DNA, RNA, lipids and proteins, between cells as a means of intercellular communication. Although EVs were initially considered to be cellular debris deprived of any essential biological functions, emerging literature highlights the critical roles of EVs in the context of intercellular signaling, maintenance of tissue homeostasis, modulation of immune responses, inflammation, cancer progression, angiogenesis, and coagulation under both physiological and pathological states. Based on the ability of EVs to shuttle proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, mRNAs, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), microRNAs, chromosomal DNA, and mitochondrial DNA into target cells, the presence and content of EVs in biofluids have been exploited for biomarker research in the context of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment strategies. Additionally, owing to the characteristics of EVs such as stability in circulation, biocompatibility as well as low immunogenicity and toxicity, these vesicles have become attractive systems for the delivery of therapeutics. More recently, EVs are increasingly being exploited as conduits for delivery of therapeutics for anticancer strategies, immunomodulation, targeted drug delivery, tissue regeneration, and vaccination. In this review, we highlight and discuss the multiple strategies that are employed for the use of EVs as delivery vehicles for therapeutic agents, including the potential advantages and challenges involved. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-442
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Bioengineering
  • EV administration
  • EV loading
  • Extracellular vesicle
  • Therapeutic application

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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