Microglial microvesicle secretion and intercellular signaling

Elena Turola, Roberto Furlan, Fabio Bianco, Michela Matteoli, Claudia Verderio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microvesicles (MVs) are released from almost all cell brain types into the microenvironment and are emerging as a novel way of cell-to-cell communication. This review focuses on MVs discharged by microglial cells, the brain resident myeloid cells, which comprise ~10-12% of brain population. We summarize first evidence indicating that MV shedding is a process activated by the ATP receptor P2X7 and that shed MVs represent a secretory pathway for the inflammatory cytokine IL-β. We then discuss subsequent findings which clarify how IL-1 P can be locally processed and released from MVs into the extracellular environment. In addition, we describe the current understanding about the mechanism of P2X 7-dependent MV formation and membrane abscission, which, by involving sphingomyelinase activity and ceramide formation, may share similarities with exosome biogenesis. Finally we report our recent results which show that microglia-derived MVs can stimulate neuronal activity and participate to the propagation of inflammatory signals, and suggest new areas for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 149
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume3 MAY
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Brain inflammation
  • IL-beta
  • Microglial cells
  • Microvesicles
  • Neuronal activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Microglial microvesicle secretion and intercellular signaling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this