Extracellular Vesicles and Their Emerging Roles as Cellular Messengers in Endocrinology

April 29, 2022

Full Statement: Extracellular Vesicles and Their Emerging Roles as Cellular Messengers in Endocrinology: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement

Endocrine Reviews, Advance access publication, April 21, 2022

Carlos Salomon, Saumya Das, Uta Erdbrügger, Raghu Kalluri, Sai Kiang Lim, Jerrold M Olefsky, Gregory E Rice, Susmita Sahoo, W Andy Tao, Pieter Vader, Qun Wang, Alissa M Weaver


During the last decade, there has been great interest in elucidating the biological role of extracellular vesicles (EVs), particularly, their hormone-like role in cell-to-cell communication. The field of endocrinology is uniquely placed to provide insight into the functions of EVs, which are secreted from all cells into biological fluids and carry endocrine signals to engage in paracellular and distal interactions. EVs are a heterogeneous population of membrane-bound vesicles of varying size, content, and bioactivity. EVs are specifically packaged with signaling molecules, including lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, and are released via exocytosis into biofluid compartments. EVs regulate the activity of both proximal and distal target cells, including translational activity, metabolism, growth, and development. As such, EVs signaling represents an integral pathway mediating intercellular communication. Moreover, as the content of EVs is cell-type specific, it is a “fingerprint” of the releasing cell and its metabolic status. Recently, changes in the profile of EV and bioactivity have been described in several endocrine-related conditions including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. The goal of this statement is to highlight relevant aspects of EV research and their potential role in the field of endocrinology.

Read the Full Statement

About Scientific Statements

Scientific Statements educate basic scientists, clinical scientists, and clinicians on the scientific basis of disease and on how this knowledge can be applied in clinical practice. These publications provide an evidence-based overview of basic and clinical science topics and identify areas that require additional research. Topics are selected on the basis of their emerging scientific impact on disease and their clinical relevance to the general population. Scientific Statements are developed by a multidisciplinary Task Force of experts with representation from several committees within the Endocrine Society.

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