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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 5628404, 11 pages
Review Article

Exosomes and Exosomal miRNA in Respiratory Diseases

1Clinical Tuberculosis and Epidemiology Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2Institute of Medical Biotechnology, Molecular Medicine Department, National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NIGEB), Tehran, Iran
3Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
4Airways Disease Section, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK
5Nutricia Research Centre for Specialized Nutrition, Utrecht, Netherlands
6Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA
7Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA

Received 20 June 2016; Accepted 28 August 2016

Academic Editor: Yaozu Xiang

Copyright © 2016 Shamila D. Alipoor 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.


Exosomes are nanosized vesicles released from every cell in the body including those in the respiratory tract and lungs. They are found in most body fluids and contain a number of different biomolecules including proteins, lipids, and both mRNA and noncoding RNAs. Since they can release their contents, particularly miRNAs, to both neighboring and distal cells, they are considered important in cell-cell communication. Recent evidence has shown their possible importance in the pathogenesis of several pulmonary diseases. The differential expression of exosomes and of exosomal miRNAs in disease has driven their promise as biomarkers of disease enabling noninvasive clinical diagnosis in addition to their use as therapeutic tools. In this review, we summarize recent advances in this area as applicable to pulmonary diseases.