Exosomes in Allergic Airway Diseases

  • K. P. Hough
  • J. S. DeshaneEmail author
Basic and Applied Science (I Lewkowich, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Basic and Applied Science


Purpose of Review

This review will cover what is known regarding exosomes and allergy, and furthermore discuss novel mechanism of exosome-mediated immune modulation and metabolic regulation via the transfer of mitochondria.

Recent Findings

Exosomes are nano-sized extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from the endosome that play a direct role in governing physiological and pathological conditions by transferring bioactive cargo such as proteins, enzymes, nucleic acids (miRNA, mRNA, DNA), and metabolites. Recent evidence suggest that exosomes may signal in autocrine but, most importantly, in paracrine and endocrine manner, being taken up by neighboring cells or carried to distant sites. Exosomes also mediate immunogenic responses, such as antigen presentation and inflammation. In asthma and allergy, exosomes facilitate cross-talk between immune and epithelial cells, and drive site-specific inflammation through the generation of pro-inflammatory mediators like leukotrienes. Recent studies suggest that myeloid cell-generated exosomes transfer mitochondria to lymphocytes.


Exosomes are nano-sized mediators of the immune system which can modulate responses through antigen presentation, and the transfer of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators. In addition to conventional mechanisms of immune modulation, exosomes may act as a novel courier of functional mitochondria that is capable of modulating the recipient cells bioenergetics, resulting in altered cellular responses. The transfer of mitochondria and modulation of bioenergetics may result in immune activation or dampening depending on the context.


Exosomes Asthma Allergy Extracellular vesicles Mito-exosomes MDRCs 


Authors’ Contributions

KPH and JSD outlined the review and together drafted and completed the manuscript.

Funding Information

The study was funded by the following funding sources: R01HL128502, P01HL114470, FAMRI YCSA 2010, and Parker B Francis Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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