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J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2011 Feb;31(2):173-9. doi: 10.1007/s11239-010-0507-z.

Increased platelet, leukocyte and endothelial microparticles predict enhanced coagulation and vascular inflammation in pulmonary hypertension.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology and Angiology, University Hospital Freiburg, Hugstetterstr 55, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with platelet activation, vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction leading to often life threatening thrombo-embolic complications. Microparticles (MPs) are cell vesicles with strong coagulatory and inflammatory effects being released during cell activation and apoptosis. As there are currently no established surrogate markers predicting platelet activation and pro-coagulation in PH patients, the aim of the study was to analyze different pro-coagulatory MP populations that might be related to thrombo-embolic complications in PH patients. Circulating MPs from platelet- (PMP, CD31(+)/61(+)), leukocyte- (LMP, CD11b(+)) and endothelial- (EMP, CD62E(+)) origin were measured by flow cytometry in 19 PH patients and were compared to 16 controls. PH patients had increased levels of PMP (PH vs. control 1,016 ± 201 vs. 527 ± 59 counts per min [cpm], P = 0.032), LMP (PH vs. control 31 ± 3 cpm vs. 18 ± 2 cpm, P = 0.001) and EMP (PH vs. control 99 ± 14 cpm vs. 46 ± 6 cpm, P = 0.001). Furthermore, PMP correlated to LMP (PMP vs. LMP: r = 0.75, P < 0.001) and LMP correlated to EMP levels (LMP vs. EMP, r = 0.74, P < 0.001) indicating a functional interaction between the different types of MP. In comparison to non-embolic PH patients, patients with a thrombo-embolic PH suffered from enhanced endothelial cell dysfunction as represented by significantly increased EMP levels (thrombo-embolic PH vs. non-embolic PH 137 ± 27 vs. 72 ± 10, P = 0.02). PH patients have increased levels of platelet-, leukocyte- and endothelial MP indicating an increased vascular pro-coagulation and inflammation which might be related to thrombo-embolic complications as well as PH progression.

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