Extracellular Vesicles: Footprints of environmental exposures in the aging process?

Paola Monti, Giulia Solazzo, Luca Ferrari, Valentina Bollati

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of the review: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nano-sized lipid particles that participate in intercellular signaling through the trafficking of bioactive molecules from parental cells to recipient ones. This well-orchestrated communication system is crucial for the organism to respond to external cues in a coordinated manner; indeed, environmental and lifestyle exposures can modify both EV number and content, with consequences on cellular metabolism and homeostasis. In particular, a growing body of evidence suggests that exposome-induced changes in EV profile could regulate the aging process, both at the cellular and organismal levels. Here, we provide an overview of the role played by ambient-induced EVs on aging and age-related diseases. Among the several environmental factors that can affect the communication network operated by EVs, we focused on air pollution, ultraviolet light, diet, and physical exercise. Moreover, we performed a miRNA target analysis, to support the role of EV-miRNA emerging from the literature in the context of aging. Recent findings: The overall emerging picture strongly supports a key regulatory role for EVs at the interface between external stimuli and cellular/organismal aging, thus providing novel insights into the molecular mechanisms linking a “healthy exposome” to well-being in old age. In addition, this knowledge will pave the way for research aimed at developing innovative antiaging strategies based on EVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-322
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • aging
  • air pollution
  • diet
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • physical exercise
  • ultraviolet exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Extracellular Vesicles: Footprints of environmental exposures in the aging process?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this