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Exosome-mediated communication in the ovarian follicle

Abstract

Cells are able to produce and release different types of vesicles, such as microvesicles and exosomes, in the extracellular microenvironment. According to the scientific community, both microvesicles and exosomes are able to take on and transfer different macromolecules from and to other cells, and in this way, they can influence the recipient cell function. Among the different macromolecule cargos, the most studied are microRNAs. MicroRNAs are a large family of non-coding RNAs involved in the regulation of gene expression. They control every cellular process and their altered regulation is involved in human diseases. Their presence in mammalian follicular fluid has been recently demonstrated, and here, they are enclosed within microvesicles and exosomes or they can also be associated to protein complexes. The presence of microvesicles and exosomes carrying microRNAs in follicular fluid could represent an alternative mechanism of autocrine and paracrine communication inside the ovarian follicle. The outcomes from these studies could be important in basic reproductive research but could also be useful for clinical application. In fact, the characterization of extracellular vesicles in follicular fluid could improve reproductive disease diagnosis and provide biomarkers of oocyte quality in ART (Assisted Reproductive Treatment).

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Acknowledgments

The author wishes to thank M Vento and M Purrello with whom she shares her research work. She wishes to thank R Battaglia and the lab staff for their contribution and the Scientific Bureau of the University of Catania for language support.

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Correspondence to C. Di Pietro.

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Capsule This review summarizes the current state of knowledge about extracellular vesicles in follicular fluid and elaborates on their their potential roles in follicular differentiation and oocyte maturation.

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Di Pietro, C. Exosome-mediated communication in the ovarian follicle. J Assist Reprod Genet 33, 303–311 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-016-0657-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-016-0657-9

Keywords

  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Exosomes
  • MicroRNAs
  • Ovarian follicle