Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous group of biological nano-sized vesicles that are released from cells and contribute to intercellular communication. Emerging knowledge about their biogenesis, composition, release, and uptake has resulted in broad interest in elucidating their potential roles in disease pathophysiology. The distinct biological properties of these biological nanoparticles emphasize several appealing advantages for potential therapeutic applications compared with the use of synthetic nanoparticles. When administered systemically, EVs are taken up and sequestered within the liver, further emphasizing opportunities for therapeutic use. Consequently, there is growing interest in their use for liver diseases. EVs can be used directly as therapeutics, and several studies have highlighted the intrinsic therapeutic properties of mesenchymal stem cell–derived EVs for chronic and acute liver diseases. Alternatively, EVs can be modified to facilitate their use for the delivery of therapeutic cargo. In this review, we discuss the cellular sources of EV, provide a concise overview of their potential use in diverse processes, and outline several promising applications for the use of EV-based therapeutics for liver diseases. The use of EV-based therapeutics provides a viable approach to target hepatic pathophysiology.
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