To communicate with each other, cells release exosomes that transfer their composition, including lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, to neighboring cells, thus playing a role in various pathophysiological processes. During an infection with pathogenic bacteria, such as adherent-invasive E. coli
(AIEC) associated with Crohn disease, exosomes secreted by infected cells can have an impact on the innate immune responses of surrounding cells to infection. Furthermore, inflammation can be amplified via the exosomal shuttle during infection with pathogenic bacteria, which could contribute to the development of the associated disease. Since these vesicles can be released in various biological fluids, changes in exosomal content may provide a means for the identification of non-invasive biomarkers for infectious and inflammatory bowel diseases. Moreover, evidence suggests that exosomes could be used as vaccines to prime the immune system to recognize and kill invading pathogens, and as therapeutic components relieving intestinal inflammation. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of exosomes in bacterial infections and highlight their potential use as biomarkers, vaccines and conveyers of therapeutic molecules in inflammatory bowel diseases.
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