Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are blebs of either plasma membrane or intracellular membranes carrying a cargo of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. EVs are produced by eukaryotic cells both under physiological and pathological conditions. Genetic and environmental factors (diet, stress, etc.) affecting EV cargo, regulating EV release, and consequences on immunity will be covered. EVs are found in virtually all body fluids such as plasma, saliva, amniotic fluid, and breast milk, suggesting key roles in immune development and function at different life stages from in utero to aging. These will be reviewed here. Under pathological conditions, plasma EV levels are increased and exacerbate immune activation and inflammatory reaction. Sources of EV, cells targeted, and consequences on immune function and disease development will be discussed. Both pathogenic and commensal bacteria release EV, which are classified as outer membrane vesicles when released by Gram-negative bacteria or as membrane vesicles when released by Gram-positive bacteria. Bacteria derived EVs can affect host immunity with pathogenic bacteria derived EVs having pro-inflammatory effects of host immune cells while probiotic derived EVs mostly shape the immune response towards tolerance.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited