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Extracellular vesicles and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a systematic review

Gomez, Nancy; James, Victoria; Onion, David; Fairclough, Lucy C.

Extracellular vesicles and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a systematic review Thumbnail


Nancy Gomez

David Onion


Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by irreversible airflow limitation, ranking the third highest cause of death worldwide. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important intercellular communication mediators released by cells into their extracellular environment with the capacity to transfer biological signals. EVs involved in COPD hold great potential to understand disease pathogenesis and identify important biomarkers. This systematic review aims to examine all available research on EVs in the pathogenesis and diagnosis of COPD to identify existing knowledge and support further research within the field. Methods: Publications were searched using PubMed and EMBASE with the search terms (Exosomes or extracellular vesicles or microvesicles or microparticles or ectosomes) AND (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD or emphysema or bronchitis). Results: Initial search yielded 512 papers of which 142 were manually selected for review and 43 were eligible for analyses. The studies were divided into groups according to the role of EVs in pathogenesis, EV origin and cargo, their role in COPD exacerbations and their diagnostic utility. EVs were found to be involved in the mechanism of pathogenesis of COPD, derived from various cell types, as well as containing modified levels of miRNAs. EVs also varied according to the pathophysiological status of disease, therefore presenting a possible method for COPD diagnosis and progress monitoring. Conclusion: The current findings show the limited but good quality research looking at the role of EVs in COPD, demonstrating the need for more studies to better define and provide further insight into the functional characteristics of EV in COPD pathogenesis.


Gomez, N., James, V., Onion, D., & Fairclough, L. C. (2022). Extracellular vesicles and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a systematic review. Respiratory Research, 23, Article 82.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2022
Publication Date Apr 5, 2022
Deposit Date Apr 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2022
Journal Respiratory Research
Electronic ISSN 1465-993X
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Article Number 82
Public URL
Publisher URL


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