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Review Article

Exp Neurobiol 2021; 30(1): 32-47

Published online February 28, 2021

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Extracellular Vesicles and Immune System in Ageing and Immune Diseases

So Yeong Cheon1 and Jong Eun Lee2,3*

1Department of Biotechnology, College of Biomedical & Health Science, Konkuk University, Chungju 27478, 2Department of Anatomy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, 3BK21 PLUS Project for Medical Science, and Brain Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-2-2228-1646, FAX: 82-2-365-0700

Received: December 7, 2020; Revised: January 6, 2021; Accepted: January 17, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Immune system is essential for host homeostasis. Immune cells communicate with each other by binding to receptors or by releasing vesicles including chemokines and cytokines. Under healthy circumstances, immune cell-derived factors are critical for cellular growth, division and function, whereas under conditions such as ageing and inflammatory states, they can aggravate pathologies and cause disease. Cell-derived membranous extracellular vesicles mediate cell-to-cell communication and are implicated in various physiological and pathological processes involving ageing and age-related diseases. Extracellular vesicles are responsible for spreading detrimental factors to the surroundings and the propagation phase of inflammatory diseases. The regulation of extracellular vesicles is a putative target for treatment of inflammatory diseases. Moreover, their features are ideal for developing biomarkers and drug delivery systems modulated by bioengineering in inflammatory diseases. The present review summarizes the current understanding of extracellular vesicles in ageing and inflammatory diseases.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Ageing, Extracellular vesicles, Inflammatory disease, Biomarkers, Drug delivery system