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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017, Article ID 7027380, 12 pages
Review Article

Potential Roles of Exosomal MicroRNAs as Diagnostic Biomarkers and Therapeutic Application in Alzheimer’s Disease

1Department of Physiology, Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Cerebral Diseases, Dalian Medical University, Dalian City, Liaoning Province 116044, China
2Department of General Surgery, Subei People’s Hospital of Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province 225000, China
3Technology Centre of Target-Based Nature Products for Prevention and Treatment of Aging-Related Neurodegeneration, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoning, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jie Zhao; moc.361@joahzld and Shao Li; moc.liamtoh@98oahsil

Received 4 October 2016; Accepted 22 May 2017; Published 9 July 2017

Academic Editor: Anthony J. Hannan

Copyright © 2017 Jian-jiao Chen 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 bilipid layer-enclosed vesicles derived from endosomes and are released from neural cells. They contain a diversity of proteins, mRNAs, and microRNAs (miRNAs) that are delivered to neighboring cells and/or are transported to distant sites. miRNAs released from exosomes appear to be associated with multiple neurodegenerative conditions linking to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) which is marked by hyperphosphorylated tau proteins and accumulation of Aβ plaques. Exciting findings reveal that miRNAs released from exosomes modulate the expression and function of amyloid precursor proteins (APP) and tau proteins. These open up the possibility that dysfunctional exosomal miRNAs may influence AD progression. In addition, it has been confirmed that the interaction between miRNAs released by exosomes and Toll-like receptors (TLR) initiates inflammation. In exosome support-deprived neurons, exosomal miRNAs may regulate neuroplasticity to relieve neurological damage. In this review, we summarize the literature on the function of exosomal miRNAs in AD pathology, the potential of these miRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers in AD, and the use of exosomes in the delivery of miRNAs which may lead to major advances in the field of macromolecular drug delivery.