New windows into the brain: Central nervous system-derived extracellular vesicles in blood.

Progress in Neurobiology
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Shi M, Sheng L, Stewart T, Zabetian CP and Zhang J

Prog Neurobiol. 2019 Jan 24. pii: S0301-0082(18)30106-0

DOI: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2019.01.005

ABSTRACT:

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and (shedding) microvesicles, are released by nearly all cell types and carry a cargo of proteins and nucleic acids that varies by the cell of origin. They are thought to play critical roles in normal central nervous system (CNS) function and neurological disorders. A recently revealed key characteristic of EVs is that they may travel between the CNS and peripheral circulation. This property has led to intense interest in how EVs might serve as a vehicle for toxic protein clearance and as a readily accessible source of biomarkers for CNS disorders. Furthermore, by bypassing the blood-brain barrier, modified EVs could serve as a unique drug delivery system that targets specific neuronal populations. Further work is necessary to develop and optimize techniques that enable high-yield capture of relevant EV populations, analyze individual EVs and their cargos, and validate preliminary results of EV-derived biomarkers in independent cohorts.