Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as a novel messaging system of the organism, mediating cell–cell and interorgan communication. Through their content of proteins and nucleic acids, as well as membrane proteins and lipid species, EVs can interact with and modulate the function of their target cells. The regulation of whole-body metabolism requires cross-talk between key metabolic tissues including adipose tissue (AT), the liver and skeletal muscle. Furthermore, the regulation of nutrient/energy allocation during pregnancy requires co-ordinated communication between the foetus and metabolic organs of the mother. A growing body of evidence is suggesting that EVs play a role in communication between and within key metabolic organs, both physiologically during metabolic homoeostasis but also contributing to pathophysiology during metabolic dysregulation observed in metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. As obesity and its associated metabolic complications are reaching epidemic proportions, characterization of EV-mediated communication between key metabolic tissues may offer important insights into the regulation of metabolic functions during disease and offer global therapeutic opportunities. Here, we focus on the role of EVs in metabolic regulation and, in particular, EV-mediated cross-talk between cells of the AT.

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