Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(11):2461-2470. doi:10.7150/ijbs.36427 This issue


Exosomes in Coronary Artery Disease

Xiao-Fei Gao1,2, Zhi-Mei Wang1, Feng Wang1, Yue Gu1, Jun-Jie Zhang1,2✉, Shao-Liang Chen1,2✉

1. Department of Cardiology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China;
2. Department of Cardiology, Nanjing Heart Centre, Nanjing, China.
The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Gao XF, Wang ZM, Wang F, Gu Y, Zhang JJ, Chen SL. Exosomes in Coronary Artery Disease. Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(11):2461-2470. doi:10.7150/ijbs.36427. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Exosomes, the nanosized vesicles released from various cell types, contain many bioactive molecules, such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, which can participate in intercellular communication in a paracrine manner or an endocrine manner, in order to maintain the homeostasis and respond to stress adaptively. Currently, exosomes have already been utilized as diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic tools in cancer clinical trials. There has also been great progress in cell and animal exosomes studies of coronary artery disease (CAD). Emerging evidence suggests that exosomes released from endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, adipose cells, platelets, cardiomyocytes, and stem cells have been reported to play crucial roles in the development and progression of CAD. Moreover, it has been showed that exosomes released from different cell types exhibit diverse biological functions, either detrimental or protective, depending on the cell state and the microenvironment. However, the systematic knowledge of exosomes in CAD at the patient level has not been well established, which are far away from clinical application. This review summarizes the basic information about exosomes and provides an update of the recent findings on exosome-mediated intercellular communication in the development and progression of CAD, which could be helpful for understanding the pathophysiology of CAD and promoting the further potential clinical translation.

Keywords: extracellular vesicles, exosomes, coronary artery disease