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Bacteria contribute to human host (patho)physiology through the production of a myriad of biomolecules enclosed in membrane vesicles [bacterial extracellular vesicles (BEVs)]. Recent research revealed that BEVs, as a functional output of bacteria, enter the systemic circulation. Here, we highlight the current state of knowledge on the origin, translocation, distribution, function, and excretion or elimination of systemically circulating BEVs and delineate knowledge gaps. Further investigations on the so far occult stages of BEV entry beyond the walls of epithelial and immune barriers will unmask the role of BEVs in health and disease.
An Hendrix,Olivier De Wever