The role of extracellular vesicles in animal reproduction and diseases

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Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanosized membrane-enclosed compartments that serve as messengers in cell-to-cell communication, both in normal physiology and in pathological conditions. EVs can transfer functional proteins and genetic information to alter the phenotype and function of recipient cells, which undergo different changes that positively affect their structural and functional integrity. Biological fluids are enriched with several subpopulations of EVs, including exosomes, microvesicles (MVs), and apoptotic bodies carrying several cargoes, such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. EVs associated with the reproductive system are actively involved in the regulation of different physiological events, including gamete maturation, fertilization, and embryo and fetal development. EVs can influence follicle development, oocyte maturation, embryo production, and endometrial-conceptus communication. EVs loaded with cargoes are used to diagnose various diseases, including pregnancy disorders; however, these are dependent on the type of cell of origin and pathological characteristics. EV-derived microRNAs (miRNAs) and proteins in the placenta regulate inflammatory responses and trophoblast invasion through intercellular delivery in the placental microenvironment. This review presents evidence regarding the types of extracellular vesicles, and general aspects of isolation, purification, and characterization of EVs, particularly from various types of embryos. Further, we discuss EVs as mediators and messengers in reproductive biology, the effects of EVs on placentation and pregnancy disorders, the role of EVs in animal reproduction, in the male reproductive system, and mother and embryo cross-communication. In addition, we emphasize the role of microRNAs in embryo implantation and the role of EVs in reproductive and therapeutic medicine. Finally, we discuss the future perspectives of EVs in reproductive biology.




Gurunathan, S., Kang, M. H., Song, H., Kim, N. H., & Kim, J. H. (2022, December 1). The role of extracellular vesicles in animal reproduction and diseases. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. BioMed Central Ltd.

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