DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-1779296 ISSN: 0004-282X

Extracellular vesicles in Alzheimer's disease

Victor Hugo Berriel Pinho, João Paulo Lima Daher, Salim Kanaan, Thalia Medeiros
  • Neurology
  • Neurology (clinical)


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small vesicles released by cells that facilitate cell signaling. They are categorized based on their biogenesis and size. In the context of the central nervous system (CNS), EVs have been extensively studied for their role in both normal physiological functions and diseases like Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive decline and neuronal death. EVs have emerged as potential biomarkers for AD due to their involvement in disease progression. Specifically, EVs derived from neurons, astrocytes, and neuron precursor cells exhibit changes in quantity and composition in AD. Neuron-derived EVs have been found to contain key proteins associated with AD pathology, such as amyloid beta (Aß) and tau. Increased levels of Aß in neuron-derived EVs isolated from the plasma have been observed in individuals with AD and mild cognitive impairment, suggesting their potential as early biomarkers. However, the analysis of tau in neuron-derived EVs is still inconclusive. In addition to Aß and tau, neuron-derived EVs also carry other proteins linked to AD, including synaptic proteins. These findings indicate that EVs could serve as biomarkers for AD, particularly for early diagnosis and disease monitoring. However, further research is required to validate their use and explore potential therapeutic applications. To summarize, EVs are small vesicles involved in cell signaling within the CNS. They hold promise as biomarkers for AD, potentially enabling early diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression. Ongoing research aims to refine their use as biomarkers and uncover additional therapeutic applications.

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