Shedding of exosomes and microvesicles is now a well-recognized, important method of cellcell communication in a number of different cell types. However, their importance in the female reproductive tract and in mediating embryo-maternal interactions during pregnancy has only recently been recognized. Here we review the current literature as to release of extracellular vesicles by uterine cells, the embryo, and placental trophoblast cells; how release is regulated; and the different types of signaling molecules and genetic information contained within such vesicles. We also discuss the role of these exosomes and microvesicles in regulating critical processes during implantation and pregnancy such as angiogenesis, matrix remodeling, alterations in immune function and pathological effects in gestational diseases. A better understanding of the role of exosomes and microvesicles in reproduction may lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches for treatment of infertility and pregnancy complications.
- Extracellular vesicles
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)