A pathogenic role of microRNAs (miRNAs) derived from exosomes has been attributed to a growing list of autoimmune conditions. Using exosomes as a biomarker to diagnose autoimmune conditions could help healthcare providers offer effective care prior to irreversible damage.
Inadequate blood supply to the skin can promote the development of wounds. These so-called ischemic wounds affect millions of people and can lead to amputations or even loss of life. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently reported their studies in which they examined the use of exosomes containing TGF-β to treat chronic skin wounds.
The therapeutic effects of transplanted stem cells can be mediated by their exosomes. Since exosomes offer relative simplicity and are tolerated without the need for immunosuppressive drugs, there is increasing interest in using exosomes for therapy rather than cells. There may be advantages to using exosomes from microorganisms therapeutically too.
Exosomes are now reaching the clinic in trials for a wide variety of diseases. One of their most exciting applications is the treatment of retinal degeneration which may even be able to reverse the process of sight loss.
A recent review paper in Frontiers in Immunology highlights the possibility that free cytokine contaminants in isolated exosome samples may actually be causing biological effects seen in immunomodulation studies that have been attributed to exosomes.