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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00169

An Update on In Vivo Imaging of Extracellular Vesicles as Drug Delivery Vehicles

  • 1Kyungpook National University, South Korea

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are currently being considered as promising drug delivery vehicles. EVs are naturally occurring vesicles that exhibit many characteristics favorable to serve as drug delivery vehicles. In addition, EVs have inherent properties for treatment of cancers and other diseases. For research and clinical translation of use of EVs as drug delivery vehicles, in vivo tracking of EVs is essential. The latest molecular imaging techniques enable the tracking of EVs in living animals. However, each molecular imaging technique has its certain advantages and limitations for the in vivo imaging of EVs; therefore, understanding the molecular imaging techniques is essential to select the most appropriate imaging technology to achieve the desired imaging goal. In this review, we summarize the characteristics of EVs as drug delivery vehicles and the molecular imaging techniques used in visualizing and monitoring EVs in in vivo environments. Furthermore, we provide a perceptual vision of EVs as drug delivery vehicles and in vivo monitoring of EVs using molecular imaging technologies.

Keywords: Extracellular vesicles (EVs), Drug delivery vehicles, Molecular Imaging, In vivo distribution, labeling

Received: 27 Nov 2017; Accepted: 15 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Ruggero De Maria, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

Reviewed by:

Maria Felice Brizzi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy
Donatella Lucchetti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Gangadaran, Hong and Ahn. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Byeong-Cheol Ahn, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea, abc2000@knu.ac.kr