Theranostics 2021; 11(18):8926-8944. doi:10.7150/thno.62330 This issue

Review

Engineered exosomes: desirable target-tracking characteristics for cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease therapies

Meng Xu1, Tao Feng1, Bowen Liu1, Fen Qiu1, Youhua Xu2, Yonghua Zhao1✉, Ying Zheng1✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau, China.
2. Faculty of Chinese Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Taipa, Macao, China.

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Citation:
Xu M, Feng T, Liu B, Qiu F, Xu Y, Zhao Y, Zheng Y. Engineered exosomes: desirable target-tracking characteristics for cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease therapies. Theranostics 2021; 11(18):8926-8944. doi:10.7150/thno.62330. Available from https://www.thno.org/v11p8926.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

As extracellular vesicles secreted by cells, exosomes are intercellular signalosomes for cell communication and pharmacological effectors. Because of their special properties, including low toxicity and immunogenicity, biodegradability, ability to encapsulate endogenous biologically active molecules and cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), exosomes have great therapeutic potential in cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the poor targeting ability of natural exosomes greatly reduces the therapeutic effect. Using engineering technology, exosomes can obtain active targeting ability to accumulate in specific cell types and tissues by attaching targeting units to the membrane surface or loading them into cavities. In this review, we outline the improved targeting functions of bioengineered exosomes, tracing and imaging techniques, administration methods, internalization in the BBB, and therapeutic effects of exosomes in cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and further evaluate the clinical opportunities and challenges in this research field.

Keywords: engineered exosomes, brain targeting, tracking, administration routes, cerebrovascular disease, neurological disorders