Exosomes and Extracellular RNA in Muscle and Bone Aging and Crosstalk

  • Weiping Qin
  • Sarah L. DallasEmail author
Muscle and Bone (L Bonewald and M Hamrick, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Muscle and Bone


Purpose of Review

Extracellular vesicles (EV), which include exosomes and microvesicles, are membrane-bound particles shed by most cell types and are important mediators of cell-cell communication by delivering their cargo of proteins, miRNA, and mRNA to target cells and altering their function. Here, we provide an overview of what is currently known about EV composition and function in bone and muscle cells and discuss their role in mediating crosstalk between these two tissues as well as their role in musculoskeletal aging.

Recent Findings

Recent studies have shown that muscle and bone cells produce EV, whose protein, mRNA, and miRNA cargo reflects the differentiated state of the parental cells. These EV have functional effects within their respective tissues, but evidence is accumulating that they are also shed into the circulation and can have effects on distant tissues. Bone- and muscle-derived EV can alter the differentiation and function of bone and muscle cells. Many of these effects are mediated via small microRNAs that regulate target genes in recipient cells.


EV-mediated signaling in muscle and bone is an exciting and emerging field. While considerable progress has been made, much is still to be discovered about the mechanisms regulating EV composition, release, uptake, and function in muscle and bone. A key challenge is to understand more precisely how exosomes function in truly physiological settings.


Bone Muscle Exosomes miRNA Crosstalk Aging 



We thank Dr. LeAnn Tiede-Lewis in the UMKC Confocal Imaging Core for her expert assistance with the confocal intravital imaging data shown in Fig. 2(B).

Funding Information

SLD was supported by NIH grants P01-AG039355 and R21-AR071563. WQ was supported by Veterans Health Administration, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Merit Review Award 1 I01 RX002089-01A2 and NIH R21 NS111393-01A1. We acknowledge use of the UMKC Confocal Microscopy Core supported by NIH grants S10RR027668 and S10OD021665, the UMKC Office of Research Services, and UMKC Center of Excellence in Dental and Musculoskeletal Tissues.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Sarah Dallas and Weiping Qin declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reported studies/experiments with animal subjects performed by the authors have complied with all applicable ethical standards (•including the Helsinki Declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord InjuryJames J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, School of DentistryUniversity of Missouri Kansas CityKansas CityUSA

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