Exosomes and microvesicles in kidney transplantation: the long road from trash to gold

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Kidney transplantation significantly enhances the survival rate and quality of life of patients with end-stage kidney disease. The ability to predict post-transplantation rejection events in their early phases can reduce subsequent allograft loss. Therefore, it is critical to identify biomarkers of rejection processes that can be acquired on routine analysis of samples collected by non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures. It is also important to develop new therapeutic strategies that facilitate optimisation of the dose of immunotherapeutic drugs and the induction of allograft immunotolerance. This review explores the challenges and opportunities offered by extracellular vesicles (EVs) present in biofluids in the discovery of biomarkers of rejection processes, as drug carriers and in the induction of immunotolerance. Since EVs are highly complex structures and their composition is affected by the parent cell's metabolic status, the importance of defining standardised methods for isolating and characterising EVs is also discussed. Understanding the major bottlenecks associated with all these areas will promote the further investigation of EVs and their translation into a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • diagnosis
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • kidney transplant
  • rejection
  • therapeutics


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