Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 55, Issue 12, pp 9280–9293 | Cite as

Exosomes in Acquired Neurological Disorders: New Insights into Pathophysiology and Treatment

  • Nicole OsierEmail author
  • Vida Motamedi
  • Katie Edwards
  • Ava Puccio
  • Ramon Diaz-Arrastia
  • Kimbra Kenney
  • Jessica Gill


Exosomes are endogenous nanovesicles that play critical roles in intercellular signaling by conveying functional genetic information and proteins between cells. Exosomes readily cross the blood-brain barrier and have promise as therapeutic delivery vehicles that have the potential to specifically deliver molecules to the central nervous system (CNS). This unique feature also makes exosomes attractive as biomarkers in diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics in the context of multiple significant public health conditions, including acquired neurological disorders. The purpose of this review is to summarize the state of the science surrounding the relevance of extracellular vesicles (EVs), particularly exosomes, to acquire neurological disorders, specifically traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), and ischemic stroke. In total, ten research articles were identified that examined exosomes in the context of TBI, SCI, or stroke; these manuscripts were reviewed and synthesized to further understand the current role of exosomes in the context of acquired neurological disorders. Of the ten published studies, four focused exclusively on TBI, one on both TBI and SCI, and five on ischemic stroke; notably, eight of the ten studies were limited to pre-clinical samples. The present review is the first to discuss the current body of knowledge surrounding the role of exosomes in the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prognosis, as well as promising therapeutic strategies in TBI, SCI, and stroke research.


Acquired neurological disorders Traumatic brain injury (TBI) Stroke Spinal cord injury (SCI) Exosomes Extracellular vesicles 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Intramural Department of Research.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing ResearchBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Healthcare Genetics Doctoral ProgramClemson University School of NursingClemsonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Neurological SurgeryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.University of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.National Intrepid Center of ExcellenceWalter Reed National Military Medical CenterBethesdaUSA

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