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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 161393, 11 pages
Review Article

Role and Function of MicroRNAs in Extracellular Vesicles in Cardiovascular Biology

Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Bonn, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University, 53105 Bonn, Germany

Received 24 July 2015; Revised 7 September 2015; Accepted 15 September 2015

Academic Editor: Renzhi Han

Copyright © 2015 Philipp Pfeifer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intercellular communication mediated by extracellular vesicles is crucial for preserving vascular integrity and in the development of cardiovascular disease. Extracellular vesicles consist of apoptotic bodies, microvesicles, and exosomes that can be found in almost every fluid compartment of the body like blood, saliva, and urine. In the recent years, a lot of reports came up suggesting that major cardiovascular and metabolic pathologies like atherogenesis, heart failure, or diabetes are highly influenced by transfer of microRNAs via extracellular vesicles leading to altered protein expression and phenotypes of recipient cells. The following review will summarize the fast developing field of intercellular signaling in cardiovascular biology by microRNA-containing extracellular vesicles.