Current Osteoporosis Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 58–64 | Cite as

Exosomes in Extracellular Matrix Bone Biology

  • Adrienn Pethő
  • Yinghua Chen
  • Anne GeorgeEmail author
Skeletal Development (P Trainor and K Svoboda, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Skeletal Development


Purpose of Review

Exosomes are membrane vesicles that are released by most cell types into the extracellular environment. The purpose of this article is to discuss the main morphological features and contents of bone-derived exosomes, as well as their major isolation and physical characterization techniques. Furthermore, we present various scenarios and discuss potential clinical applications of bone-derived exosomes in bone repair and regeneration.

Recent Findings

Exosomes were believed to be nanosized vesicles derived from the multivesicular body. Reports now suggest that nanovesicles could bud directly from the plasma membrane. However, the exosome cargo is cell-type specific and is derived from the parent cell. In the bone matrix, several intracellular proteins lacking a signal peptide are transported to the ECM by exosomes. Besides proteins, several mRNA, miRNA, and lipids are exported to the ECM by bone cells and bone marrow stromal cells. Recent evidence suggests that several of the functional components in the cargo could regulate processes of bone formation, inhibit osteoclast activity, and promote fracture repair.


Exosomes are powerful cellular molecular machines produced without human intervention and packaged with physiological cargo that could be utilized for molecular therapy in several skeletal disorders such as osteoporosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, and fracture healing. Although much work has been done, there is a lot of information that is still unknown, as exosomes contain a multitude of molecules whose identity and function have yet to be identified.


Extracellular vesicles Exosomes Bone Matrix mineralization Tissue regeneration Osteoporosis 



A. P greatly acknowledges the scholarship from the Rosztoczy Foundation.


This work was supported by the Brodie Endowment Fund and the National Institutes of Health grant DE11657.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Adrienn Pethő, Yinghua Chen, and Anne George declare no conflict of interest.

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.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brodie Tooth Development Genetics & Regenerative Medicine Research Laboratory, Department of Oral BiologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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