Extracellular vesicles in acute kidney injury and clinical applications

Sekyung Oh, Sang Ho Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Acute kidney injury (AKI)—-the sudden loss of kidney function due to tissue damage and subsequent progression to chronic kidney disease—-has high morbidity and mortality rates and is a serious worldwide clinical problem. Current AKI diagnosis, which relies on measuring serum creatinine levels and urine output, cannot sensitively and promptly report on the state of damage. To address the shortcomings of these traditional diagnosis tools, several molecular biomarkers have been developed to facilitate the identification and ensuing monitoring of AKI. Nanosized membrane-bound extracellular vesicles (EVs) in body fluids have emerged as excellent sources for discovering such biomarkers. Besides this diagnostic purpose, EVs are also being extensively exploited to deliver therapeutic macromolecules to damaged kidney cells to ameliorate AKI. Consequently, many successful AKI biomarker findings and therapeutic applications based on EVs have been made. Here, we review our understanding of how EVs can help with the early identification and accurate monitoring of AKI and be used therapeutically. We will further discuss where current EV-based AKI diagnosis and therapeutic applications fall short and where future innovations could lead us.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8913
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2 2021


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Apoptotic bodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Exosomes
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Injury repair
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Microvesicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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