Special Issue Introduction
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are heterogeneous cell-derived membranous vesicles that carry a large diversity of molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, and metabolites. Emerging evidence suggests EVs are involved in multiple pathological processes of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy, etc. The pathology-associated proteins, including amyloid peptide, Tau, TDP-43, and α-synuclein, are found present within EVs. EVs and their cargo play a critical role in maintaining cellular homeostasis as well as inter-cellular communication in various neurocircuitries and cellular components of the neurovascular unit. Similarly, EVs could also disseminate pathogenic cargo, as well as enter into the circulatory system, which can be detected by non-invasive tools. Therefore, EVs are an intriguing source of biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of neurodegenerative disorders. Since their cargo is a complex selection of bioactive molecules from the cell of origin, EVs may reflect the status of those cells during the disease progression. On the other hand, EVs are also considered promising non-invasive vectors to deliver defined compounds for therapeutics. EVs are biocompatible and self-derived, so they are immunologically inert and less likely to trigger innate and adaptive immune responses. In addition, EVs can be manipulated by bioengineering and loaded with therapeutic agents.
This Special Issue will highlight the function of EVs in the pathogenesis and development of neurodegenerative disorders (NDs) as well as their application in diagnosis and therapy. We welcome submissions of original research articles/reviews/new opinions on the following topics:
● The functional role of EVs in NDs progression;
● The exploration of EVs as novel biomarkers in NDs diagnosis and prognosis as well as for assessing the efficacy of any intervention;
● Novel methodologies for the isolation and characterization of brain cells-derived EVs;
● The application of naïve EVs as well as engineered particles carrying target genes, microRNAs, lncRNAs, siRNAs, and drug molecules in NDs therapy.
The cover image is reproduced from Sheridan, GK et al., 2021