MicroRNA-containing microvesicles regulating inflammation in association with atherosclerotic disease

In addition to intracellular organelles, eukaryotic cells contain extracellular organelles which are released, or shed, into the microenvironment. In practice, most human studies have examined mixed populations containing both exosomes and shedding microvesicles (also called ectosomes or microparticles); only a few studies have rigorously distinguished between the two. Accordingly, in this review, exosomes and shedding microvesicles are collectively called microvesicles. The first aim of this review was to discuss the role of microvesicles in cell-to-cell communication in general and in specific interactions between cells in chronic inflammation associated with atherosclerotic disease.

Hereby, the authors focused on cell-specific microvesicles derived from platelets, endothelial cells and monocyte and monocyte-derived cells. The latter were also found to be associated with inflammation in obesity and type 2 diabetes prior to atherosclerotic disease, and cancer. Their second aim was to discuss specific changes in microvesicle content in relation with inflammation associated with metabolic and atherosclerotic disease, and cancer. Because many studies supported the putative diagnostic value of microRNAs, they emphasized therein changes in microRNA content rather than protein or lipid content.  These data warrant further investigation of the potential of microvesicles as putative biomarkers and as novel carriers for the cell-specific transfer of microRNAs and other therapeutic agents.

  • Hulsmans M, Holvoet P. (2013) MicroRNA-containing microvesicles regulating inflammation in association with atherosclerotic disease. Cardiovasc Res [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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