Exosomes in Acquired Neurological Disorders: New Insights into Pathophysiology and Treatment

Nicole Osier, Vida Motamedi, Katie Edwards, Ava Puccio, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Kimbra Kenney, Jessica Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Exosomes are endogenous nanovesicles that play critical roles in intercellular signaling by conveying functional genetic information and proteins between cells. Exosomes readily cross the blood-brain barrier and have promise as therapeutic delivery vehicles that have the potential to specifically deliver molecules to the central nervous system (CNS). This unique feature also makes exosomes attractive as biomarkers in diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics in the context of multiple significant public health conditions, including acquired neurological disorders. The purpose of this review is to summarize the state of the science surrounding the relevance of extracellular vesicles (EVs), particularly exosomes, to acquire neurological disorders, specifically traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), and ischemic stroke. In total, ten research articles were identified that examined exosomes in the context of TBI, SCI, or stroke; these manuscripts were reviewed and synthesized to further understand the current role of exosomes in the context of acquired neurological disorders. Of the ten published studies, four focused exclusively on TBI, one on both TBI and SCI, and five on ischemic stroke; notably, eight of the ten studies were limited to pre-clinical samples. The present review is the first to discuss the current body of knowledge surrounding the role of exosomes in the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prognosis, as well as promising therapeutic strategies in TBI, SCI, and stroke research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9280-9293
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired neurological disorders
  • Exosomes
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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