Exosomes are nanosized membrane particles that are secreted by cells that transmit information from cell to cell. The information within exosomes prominently includes their protein and RNA payloads. Exosomal microRNAs in particular can potently and fundamentally alter the transcriptome of recipient cells. Here we summarize what is known about exosome biogenesis, content, and transmission, with a focus on cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology. We also highlight some of the questions currently under active investigation regarding these extracellular membrane vesicles and their potential in diagnostic and therapeutic applications.


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