Bone tissue remodeling is a highly regulated process balancing bone formation and resorption through complex cellular crosstalk between resident bone and microenvironment cells. This cellular communication is mediated by direct cell and cell–matrix contact, autocrine, endocrine, and paracrine receptor mediated mechanisms such as local soluble signaling molecules and extracellular vesicles including nanometer sized exosomes. An impairment in this balanced process leads to development of pathological conditions. Bone tissue engineering is an emerging interdisciplinary field with potential to address bone defects and disorders by synthesizing three-dimensional bone substitutes embedded with cells for clinical implantation. However, current cell-based therapeutic approaches have faced hurdles due to safety and ethical concerns, challenging their clinical translation. Recent studies on exosome-regulated bone homeostasis and regeneration have gained interest as prospective cell free therapy in conjugation with tissue engineered bone grafts. However, exosome research is still in its nascent stages of bone tissue engineering. In this review, we specifically describe the role of exosomes secreted by cells within bone microenvironment such as osteoblasts, osteocytes, osteoclasts, mesenchymal stem cell cells, immune cells, endothelial cells, and even tumor cells during bone homeostasis and crosstalk. We also review exosome-based osteoinductive functionalization strategies for various bone-based biomaterials such as ceramics, polymers, and metals in bone tissue engineering. We further highlight biomaterials as carrier agents for exosome delivery to bone defect sites and, finally, the influence of various biomaterials in modulation of cell exosome secretome.
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