Extracellular vesicles at the heart of cell-cell communication

Lara Ottaviani

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Extracellular vesicles are cargoes able to transport important information from one cell to another, allowing the organism to respond to external stimuli. This thesis focused on the heart, and how vesicles released from the contractile cells, cardiomyocytes, can affect the behaviour of cells forming arteries and veins, endothelial cells. The research showed how an unhealthy enlarged cardiomyocyte release vesicles can have a molecular content different form the healthy counterpart. The unhealthy cells express in their cargoes a small RNA, called miRNA-200c that has a detrimental effect on the behaviour of endothelial cells. Moreover, it was showed that in mice with enlarged hearts, inhibiting the expression of miR-200c had beneficial effects on endothelial remodelling and restored cardiac function. The next step was to visualise the vesicles in the heart; for this purpose a system that resembles a light switch was used. When a cell receives a vesicle, it will switch its colour from red to green allowing us to visualise it. This tracking system gave a better insight of the extracellular vesicles biology, release and uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • da Costa Martins, Paula, Supervisor
  • de Windt, Leon, Co-Supervisor
Award date28 May 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • miRNA
  • extracellular vesicles
  • heart failure
  • vascular remodelling
  • Cre-lox system


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