Semin Liver Dis 2019; 39(01): 070-077
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1676122
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Extracellular Vesicles in Liver Diseases: Diagnostic, Prognostic, and Therapeutic Application

Sabine K. Urban*
1   Department of Medicine II, Saarland University Medical Center, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany
Tudor Mocan*
2   Octavian Fodor Institute for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Iuliu Haţieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Hanna Sänger
1   Department of Medicine II, Saarland University Medical Center, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany
Veronika Lukacs-Kornek
3   Institute of Experimental Immunology, University Hospital of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University, Bonn, Germany
Miroslaw Kornek
4   Department of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery, German Armed Forces Central Hospital, Koblenz, Germany
5   Department of Oncology, Hematology and Rheumatology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 January 2019 (online)


Extracellular vesicles, comprising exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies, represent an emerging field in disease diagnostics and prognosis. They can be isolated from peripheral blood of patients as well as from other body fluids and can therefore be considered a minimally invasive liquid biopsy screening tool. Especially their surface antigen composition can reveal information about disease backgrounds. For several liver diseases, including fatal hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma as well as other nonmalignant liver disorders such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, or acute liver failure, it has been shown that extracellular vesicle (EV) surface profiling can be useful for disease diagnosis and prognosis. This review focuses on latest advances in these areas to improve liver disorder detection and management. Additionally, the authors will discuss possible therapeutic applications of EVs in liver diseases, which might be a potent treatment option in the future.