Background: Alopecia is a common chief complaint and is challenging to treat. As such, regenerative treatments to promote hair growth are an emerging area of research. Exosomes, which are extracellular vesicles involved in cell communication, homeostasis, differentiation, and organogenesis, have been shown to play a central role in hair morphogenesis and regeneration with potential for use as alopecia treatment. Aims: This review summarizes and assesses the body of literature surrounding exosomes as regenerative therapeutics for alopecia and identifies areas for improvement in future research. Methods: A review was conducted using a comprehensive list of keywords including “exosome,” “alopecia,” and “hair loss” on PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar databases published from inception to February 2022. Reference lists of identified articles were included. 47 studies were included. Clinical trial databases were searched using the term “exosome”; however, no trials relevant to hair growth were identified. Results: Our updated and comprehensive review details the history of exosome use in medicine, postulated underlying mechanisms in treating hair loss, and current clinical studies. Preclinical studies demonstrate clear benefits of exosome therapeutics in regenerative medicine and for hair loss treatment. Clinical trials demonstrate safety of exosome use in medicine, but data showing efficacy and safety of exosome therapy for alopecia are lacking. We identified several gaps in knowledge required for effective clinical translation including safety, exosome source, and optimal treatment delivery mechanism and dosage. Conclusion: Exosomes are on the horizon as an exciting therapeutic for the treatment of alopecia. Further studies and clinical trials are required.
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