REVIEW ARTICLE: The Role of Placental Exosomes in Reproduction


Lucia Mincheva-Nilsson, Department of Clinical Immunology, Umeå University, S-90185 Umeå, Sweden.


Citation Mincheva-Nilsson L, Baranov V. The Role of Placental Exosomes in Reproduction. Am J Reprod Immunol 2010

Cell communication comprises cell–cell contact, soluble mediators and intercellular nanotubes. There is, however, another cell–cell communication by released membrane-bound microvesicles that convey cell–cell contact ‘by proxy’ transporting signals/packages of information from donor to recipient cells locally and/or at a distance. The nanosized exosomes comprise a specialized type of microvesicles generated within multivesicular bodies (MVB) and released upon MVB fusion with the plasma membrane. Exosomes are produced by a variety of immune, epithelial and tumor cells. Upon contact, exosomes transfer molecules that can render new properties and/or reprogram their recipient cells. Recently, it was discovered that the syncytiotrophoblast constitutively and throughout the pregnancy secretes exosomes. The placenta-derived exosomes are immunosuppressive and carry proteins and RNA molecules that in a redundant way influence a number of mechanisms and promote the fetal allograft survival. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the nature of placenta-derived exosomes and discuss their role in pregnancy.