Exosomes Carrying Pathogen Material Are More Rapidly Taken Up in Lymph Nodes Than Control Exosomes

Exosomes, tiny sub-cellular vesicles smaller than red blood cells, were once thought of as molecular trash bins. And it’s true, these nanoparticles do carry off a cell’s discarded material. But now it is known that exosomes can also include can mRNAs, micro RNAs, and proteins,and that exosomes help to carry out the critical cell-to-cell communication that multicellular organisms depend on for survival. Not only can exosomes communicate and provide transport over long distances – they also happen to be in the ideal size range for lymphatic transport, a concept that has long captivated Dr. Brandon Dixon and Dr. Fred Vannberg, researchers in the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience in the Georgia Institute of Technology, and others interested in the future of lymphatic targeted drug delivery systems. Last year (2016), Dr. Dixon and Dr. Vannberg collaborated on a groundbreaking research paper (see link below) in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports, entitled, “Lymphatic Transport of Exosomes As a Rapid Route of Information Dissemination to the Lymph Node.” Their results suggested that exosomes facilitate the rapid exchange of infection-specific information from peripheral tissue to the lymph node, essentially priming the node for an effective innate immune response. The scientists’ latest paper, “TLR-Exosomes Exhibit Distinct Kinetics and Effector Function,” published recently in the same journal (Scientific Reports, online March 14, 2017), digs deeper, making a striking new discovery along the way: Exosomes move with what looks like an increased sense of urgency depending on their payload.
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