Extracellular Vesicles as Central Mediators of COPD Pathophysiology

Academic Article


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a complex, heterogeneous, smoking-related disease of significant global impact. The complex biology of COPD is ultimately driven by a few interrelated processes, including proteolytic tissue remodeling, innate immune inflammation, derangements of the host-pathogen response, aberrant cellular phenotype switching, and cellular senescence, among others. Each of these processes are engendered and perpetuated by cells modulating their environment or each other. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are powerful effectors that allow cells to perform a diverse array of functions on both adjacent and distant tissues, and their pleiotropic nature is only beginning to be appreciated. As such, EVs are candidates to play major roles in these fundamental mechanisms of disease behind COPD. Furthermore, some such roles for EVs are already established, and EVs are implicated in significant aspects of COPD pathogenesis. Here, we discuss known and potential ways that EVs modulate the environment of their originating cells to contribute to the processes that underlie COPD.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Russell DW; Genschmer KR; Blalock JE
  • Start Page

  • 631
  • End Page

  • 654
  • Volume

  • 84