Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a major health problem worldwide, and health professionals are still actively seeking new and effective approaches for CVDs treatment. Presently, extracellular vesicles, particularly exosomes, have gained its popularity for CVDs treatment because of their function as messengers for inter- and extra-cellular communications to promote cellular functions in cardiovascular system. However, as a newly developed field, researchers are still trying to fully understand the role of exosomes, and their mechanism in mediating cardiac repair process. Therefore, a comprehensive review of this topic can be timely and favourable.
In this review, we summarized the basic biogenesis and characterization of exosomes and then further extended the focus on the circulating exosomes in cellular communication and stem cell-derived exosomes in cardiac disease treatment. In addition, we covered interactions between the heart and other organs through exosomes, leading to the diagnostic characteristics of exosomes in CVDs. Future perspectives and limitations of exosomes in CVDs were also discussed with a special focus on exploring the potential delivery routes, targeting the injured tissue and engineering novel exosomes, as well as its potential as one novel target in the metabolism-related puzzle.