Oral Administration as a Potential Alternative for the Delivery of Small Extracellular Vesicles

Darío Donoso-Meneses, Aliosha I. Figueroa-Valdés, Maroun Khoury, Francisca Alcayaga-Miranda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) have burst into biomedicine as a natural therapeutic alternative for different diseases. Considered nanocarriers of biological origin, various studies have demonstrated the feasibility of their systemic administration, even with repeated doses. However, despite being the preferred route of physicians and patients, little is known about the clinical use of sEVs in oral administration. Different reports show that sEVs can resist the degradative conditions of the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration, accumulating regionally in the intestine, where they are absorbed for systemic biodistribution. Notably, observations demonstrate the efficacy of using sEVs as a nanocarrier system for a therapeutic payload to obtain a desired biological (therapeutic) effect. From another perspective, the information to date indicates that food-derived vesicles (FDVs) could be considered future nutraceutical agents since they contain or even overexpress different nutritional compounds of the foods from which they are derived, with potential effects on human health. In this review, we present and critically analyze the current information on the pharmacokinetics and safety profile of sEVs when administered orally. We also address the molecular and cellular mechanisms that promote intestinal absorption and that command the therapeutic effects that have been observed. Finally, we analyze the potential nutraceutical impact that FDVs would have on human health and how their oral use could be an emerging strategy to balance nutrition in people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number716
Pages (from-to)716
Issue number3
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • biodistribution
  • exosomes
  • food-derived vesicles
  • milk-derived vesicles
  • oral administration
  • oral delivery
  • oral drug delivery
  • small extracellular vesicles


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