International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2019-03-01)

Extracellular Vesicles as Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Structural Epilepsies

  • Jenni Karttunen,
  • Mette Heiskanen,
  • Anssi Lipponen,
  • David Poulsen,
  • Asla Pitkänen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 20, no. 6
p. 1259


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Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small vesicles involved in intercellular communication. Data is emerging that EVs and their cargo have potential as diagnostic biomarkers and treatments for brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury and epilepsy. Here, we summarize the current knowledge regarding changes in EV numbers and cargo in status epilepticus (SE) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), which are clinically significant etiologies for acquired epileptogenesis in animals and humans. We also review encouraging data, which suggests that EVs secreted by stem cells may serve as recovery-enhancing treatments for SE and TBI. Using Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, we show that brain EV-related transcripts are positively enriched in rodent models of epileptogenesis and epilepsy, and altered in response to anti-seizure drugs. These data suggest that EVs show promise as biomarkers, treatments and drug targets for epilepsy. In parallel to gathering conceptual knowledge, analytics platforms for the isolation and analysis of EV contents need to be further developed.