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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 13;274(33):23111-8.

Leukocyte microparticles stimulate endothelial cell cytokine release and tissue factor induction in a JNK1 signaling pathway.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06536, USA.


A role of membrane microparticles (MP) released by vascular cells in endothelial cell (EC) activation was investigated. Flow cytofluorimetric analysis of blood samples from normal volunteers revealed the presence of an heterogeneous MP population, which increased by approximately 2-fold after inflammatory stimulation with the chemotactic peptide, N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (2,799 +/- 360 versus 5241 +/- 640, p < 0.001). Blood-derived MP stimulated release of EC cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 (377 +/- 68 pg/ml) and MCP-1 (1, 282 +/- 79) and up-regulated de novo expression of tissue factor on the EC surface. This was associated with generation of a factor Xa-dependent procoagulant response (2.28 +/- 0.56 nM factor Xa/min/10(4) cells), in a reaction inhibited by a monoclonal antibody to tissue factor. Fluorescent labeling with antibodies to platelet GPIbalpha or leukocyte lactoferrin demonstrated that circulating MP originated from both platelets and leukocytes. However, depletion of platelet MP with an antibody to GPIbalpha did not reduce EC IL-6 release, and, similarly, MP from thrombin-stimulated platelets did not induce IL-6 release from endothelium. EC stimulation with leukocyte MP did not result in activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB and was not associated with tyrosine phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase, ERK1. In contrast, leukocyte MP stimulated a sustained, time-dependent increased tyrosine phosphorylation of approximately 46-kDa c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK1) in EC. These findings demonstrate that circulating leukocyte MP are up-regulated by inflammatory stimulation in vivo and activate a stress signaling pathway in EC, leading to increased procoagulant and proinflammatory activity. This may provide an alternative mechanism of EC activation, potentially contributing to dysregulation of endothelial functions during vascular injury.

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