Urinary extracellular vesicles: Uncovering the basis of the pathological processes in kidney-related diseases

Giulia Cricrì, Linda Bellucci, Giovanni Montini, Federica Collino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Intercellular communication governs multicellular interactions in complex organisms. A variety of mechanisms exist through which cells can communicate, e.g., cell-cell contact, the release of paracrine/autocrine soluble molecules, or the transfer of extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are membrane-surrounded structures released by almost all cell types, acting both nearby and distant from their tissue/organ of origin. In the kidney, EVs are potent intercellular messengers released by all urinary system cells and are involved in cell crosstalk, contributing to physiology and pathogene-sis. Moreover, urine is a reservoir of EVs coming from the circulation after crossing the glomerular filtration barrier—or originating in the kidney. Thus, urine represents an alternative source for biomarkers in kidney-related diseases, potentially replacing standard diagnostic techniques, includ-ing kidney biopsy. This review will present an overview of EV biogenesis and classification and the leading procedures for isolating EVs from body fluids. Furthermore, their role in intra-nephron communication and their use as a diagnostic tool for precision medicine in kidney-related disorders will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6507
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2021


  • Cell-to-cell communication
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Isolation technique
  • Kidney disease
  • Urinary biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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