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
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 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


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