, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 1-8

Highlights of a new type of intercellular communication: microvesicle-based information transfer

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Abstract.

Microvesicles (MVs) are membrane-covered cell fragments released by most cell types during apoptosis or activation. They are increasingly considered to play a pivotal role in information transfer between cells. Their presence and role have been proven in several physiological and pathological processes, such as immune modulation in inflammation and pregnancy, or blood coagulation and cancer. MVs represent a newly recognized system of intercellular communications. They not only may serve as prognostic markers in different diseases, but could also hold the potential to be new therapeutic targets or drug delivery systems.

The present overview aims to highlight some aspects of this new means of cellular communication: “microvesicular communication”.

Received 3 July 2008; returned for revision 17 July 2008; received from final revision 8 October 2008; accepted by M. Parnham 8 October 2008