The Influence of Extracellular RNA on Cell Behavior in Health, Disease, and Regeneration

Luai Huleihel, Michelle E. Scarritt, Stephen F. Badylak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: An overview of the role of extracellular RNAs (exRNA) in the regulation of homeostasis, disease progression, and regeneration is provided herein. Several exRNAs have been identified as potential biomarkers for disease and disease progression. In addition, the potential of exRNAs as a therapeutic modality is discussed. Recent Findings: Fibrotic diseases of the lung, liver, and heart, among other organs, share a number of identical exRNAs which play key roles in disease pathogenesis. Though regeneration is limited to only a few tissues in humans, small RNAs (e.g., microRNA) have been shown to be involved in the regenerative process of tissues such as liver and bone. The regulation of healing versus disease appears to be balanced by small RNAs. Because small RNAs are critical to health, they are being investigated as drug targets in multiple ongoing clinical trials. Preclinical studies suggest that promoting or blocking specific small RNAs can provide a novel therapeutic approach. Summary: exRNA can be utilized for both detection and treatment of disease. Natural and synthetic RNA carriers are being investigated as delivery methods for small RNA molecules. Current and future investigations are likely to lead to expanded applications for exRNAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Pathobiology Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Exosomes
  • Fibrosis
  • RNA
  • Regeneration
  • miRNA


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