The emerging roles of extracellular vesicles as intercellular messengers in liver physiology and pathology

Youngseok Lee, Jong Hoon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed particles released from almost all cell types. EVs mediate intercellular communication by delivering their surface and luminal cargoes, including nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids, which reflect the pathophysiological conditions of their cellular origins. Hepatocytes and hepatic non-parenchymal cells utilize EVs to regulate a wide spectrum of biological events inside the liver and transfer them to distant organs through systemic circulation. The liver also receives EVs from multiple organs and integrates these extrahepatic signals that participate in pathophysiological processes. EVs have recently attracted growing attention for their crucial roles in maintaining and regulating hepatic homeostasis. This review summarizes the roles of EVs in intrahepatic and interorgan communications under different pathophysiological conditions of the liver, with a focus on chronic liver diseases including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, liver fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. This review also discusses recent progress for potential therapeutic applications of EVs by targeting or enhancing EV-mediated cellular communication for the treatment of liver diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-724
Number of pages19
JournalClinical and Molecular Hepatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (No. 2020R1A2C2006240).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Korean Association for the Study of the Liver. All rights reserved.


  • Communication
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Liver
  • Pathology
  • Physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Molecular Biology


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