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Keywords:

  • Cell biology;
  • Exosome;
  • Extracellular vesicle;
  • Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Microvesicle;
  • Therapeutics

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), membrane vesicles that are secreted by a variety of mammalian cell types, have been shown to play an important role in intercellular communication. The contents of EVs, including proteins, microRNAs, and mRNAs, vary according to the cell type that secreted them. Accordingly, researchers have demonstrated that EVs derived from various cell types play different roles in biological phenomena. Considering the ubiquitous presence of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the body, MSC-derived EVs may take part in a wide range of events. In particular, MSCs have recently attracted much attention due to the therapeutic effects of their secretory factors. MSC-derived EVs may therefore provide novel therapeutic approaches. In this review, we first summarize the wide range of functions of EVs released from different cell types, emphasizing that EVs echo the phenotype of their parent cell. Then, we describe the various therapeutic effects of MSCs and pay particular attention to the significance of their paracrine effect. We then survey recent reports on MSC-derived EVs and consider the therapeutic potential of MSC-derived EVs. Finally, we discuss remaining issues that must be addressed before realizing the practical application of MSC-derived EVs, and we provide some suggestions for enhancing their therapeutic efficiency.