Use of extracellular vesicles as biomarker for disease or as therapeutic target
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In recent years, novel ways of intercellular communication have been described involving extracellular vesicles. Cells from various origins actively release small vesicles into the extracellular environment either by pinching off directly from the plasma membrane, which are often referred to as microvesicles, or a consequence of the fusion of the multivesicular body (MVB) with the plasma membrane. The latter process results in the extracellular release of the intraluminal vesicles of MVB, which are now termed exosomes. Cytosolic proteins, mRNAs, miRNAs and membrane bound proteins that are contained by extracellular vesicles can be transferred to target cells, thereby altering the physiology of the target cell. Extracellular vesicles display unique biophysical and biochemical features that are determined by the originating cell, making them of interest for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. This thesis will focus on the potential of extracellular vesicles as biomarker and therapeutic agent in various diseases.