Urinary extracellular vesicles: Origin, role as intercellular messengers and biomarkers; efficient sorting and potential treatment options

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Abstract

Urinary extracellular vesicles (uEVs) are a heterogenous group of vesicles consisting mainly of microvesicles and exosomes that originate predominantly (99.96%) from kidney, the urinary tract epithelium and the male reproductive tract. Secreted EVs contain molecular cargo from parental cells and provide an attractive source for biomarkers, a potential readout of physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms, and events associated with the urinary system. uEVs are readily enriched and isolated from urine samples and we review 6 standard methods that allow for downstream analysis of the uEV cargo. Although the use of uEVs as a surrogate readout for physiological changes in tissue protein levels is widespread, the protein abundance in uEVs is affected significantly by mechanisms that regulate protein sorting and secretion in uEVs. Data suggest that baseline kidney tissue and uEV levels of apical membrane-associated electrolyte transport proteins are not directly related in human patients. Recent evidence indicates that EVs may contribute to physiological and pathophysiological intercellular signalling and EVs confer protection against renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. The therapeutic use of EVs as information carriers has mainly been explored in vitro and a major hurdle lies in the translation of the in vitro findings into an in vivo setting. Thus, the EV research field is moving from a technical focus to a more physiological focus, allowing for a deeper understanding of human physiology, development of diagnostic tools and potential treatment strategies for precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13346
JournalActa Physiologica (Print)
Volume228
Issue number1
Number of pages14
ISSN1748-1708
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

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