Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2020 June, 251(4)

Invited Review

The Roles of MicroRNAs and Extracellular Vesicles in the Pathogeneses of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome


1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

The lungs are the organs that work for gas exchange. The basic structure of the lungs is an alveolus, which consists of various types of parenchymal cells and bone marrow-derived cells. Therefore, because the lungs consist of various types of cells with various functions, communication among the different types of the cells should play important roles for the homeostasis and response to disease pathogens. In the past decades, researchers have focused on cytokines or adhesion molecules to reveal the intercellular communication for understanding the homeostasis and pathogenesis in the lungs. Recent investigations have revealed that an extracellular vesicle can move among cells for transferring substances including microRNAs in the vesicles as an intercellular messenger. MicroRNAs and extracellular vesicles are therefore attracting increasing attention from both translational and clinical researchers because these emerging intercellular communication tools seem to be useful for further understanding of the disease pathogenesis as well as the biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of the diseases including cancer and inflammatory diseases. This review article is an attempt to review studies about microRNAs and extracellular vesicles in terms of their roles in normal conditions and refractory diseases of the lungs such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome including our recent study about pulmonary microvascular endothelial microparticles particles as the biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis of acute respiratory distress syndrome. This review also addresses the possibility of microRNAs and extracellular vesicles as new clinical tools for the diagnosis or treatment for these refractory respiratory diseases.

Key words —— ectosomes; exosome; extracellular vesicles; microparticle; microRNAs


Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2020, 251, 313-326

Correspondence: Mitsuhiro Yamada, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan.