Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2020 December, 252(4)

Review

Exosomes in Hepatitis B Virus Transmission and Related Immune Response

JU WANG,1 DAN CAO1 and JIEZUAN YANG1

1State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

The chronicity of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection relates to both viral factors and host factors. HBV could result in persistent infection and even serious liver disease, including chronic hepatitis B (CHB), cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although the HBV vaccine can effectively prevent HBV infection, chronic HBV infection still endangers human health and results in a large social burden. Moreover, the mechanisms underlying the HBV-mediated imbalance of the immune response and persistent infection are not fully understood. Exosomes are extracellular vesicles (EVs) 40-160 nm in size that are released from many cells and transfer specific functional RNAs, proteins, lipids and viral components from donor to recipient cells. These exosome nanovesicles are associated with various biological processes, such as cellular homeostasis, immune response and cancer progression. Besides, previous studies on exosomes have shown that they take part in viral pathogenicity due to the similarity in structure and function between exosomes and enveloped viruses. Moreover, exosome as a novel immunomodulatory carrier plays a significant role in viral immunology. In this review, we focus on the latest progress in understanding the role of exosomes in HBV transmission as well as their vital roles in immune regulation during HBV infection. Furthermore, we discuss the potential clinical applications of exosomes in hepatitis B infection, including the use of exosomes in the auxiliary diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B.

Key words —— exosomal microRNA; exosomes; hepatitis B virus (HBV); immunoregulation; infection

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Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2020 December, 252(4), 309-320.

Correspondence: Jiezuan Yang, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, No.79 Qingchun Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310003, China.

e-mail: yangyan@zju.edu.cn