Extracellular vesicles (EV) are secretory membranous elements used by cells to transport proteins, lipids, mRNAs, and microRNAs (miRNAs). While their existence has been known for many years, only recently has research begun to identify their function in intercellular communication and gene regulation. Importantly, cells have the ability to selectively sort miRNA into EVs for secretion to nearby or distant targets. These mechanisms broadly include RNA-binding proteins such as hnRNPA2B1 and Argonaute-2, but also membranous proteins involved in EV biogenesis such as Caveolin-1 and Neural Sphingomyelinase 2. Moreover, certain disease states have also identified dysregulated EV-miRNA content, shedding light on the potential role of selective sorting in pathogenesis. These pathologies include chronic lung disease, immune response, neuroinflammation, diabetes mellitus, cancer, and heart disease. In this review, we will overview the mechanisms whereby cells selectively sort miRNA into EVs and also outline disease states where EV-miRNAs become dysregulated.
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