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J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2011 Dec;4(6):811-22. doi: 10.1007/s12265-011-9296-9. Epub 2011 Jul 24.

Alterations in platelet function and cell-derived microvesicles in recently menopausal women: relationship to metabolic syndrome and atherogenic risk.

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  • 1Department of Physiology & Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


A woman's risk for metabolic syndrome (MS) increases at menopause, with an associated increase in risk for cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that early menopause-related changes in platelet activity and concentrations of microvesicles derived from activated blood and vascular cells provide a mechanistic link to the early atherothrombotic process. Thus, platelet functions and cellular origin of blood-borne microvesicles in recently menopausal women (n = 118) enrolled in the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study were correlated with components of MS and noninvasive measures of cardiovascular disease [carotid artery intima medial thickness (CIMT), coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, and endothelial reactive hyperemic index (RHI)]. Specific to individual components of the MS pentad, platelet number increased with increasing waist circumference, and platelet secretion of ATP and expression of P-selectin decreased with increasing blood glucose (p = 0.005) and blood pressure (p < 0.05), respectively. Waist circumference and systolic blood pressure were independently associated with monocyte- and endothelium-derived microvesicles (p < 0.05). Platelet-derived and total procoagulant phosphatidylserine-positive microvesicles, and systolic blood pressure correlated with CIMT (p < 0.05), but not with CAC or RHI. In summary, among recently menopausal women, specific platelet functions and concentrations of circulating activated cell membrane-derived procoagulant microvesicles change with individual components of MS. These cellular changes may explain in part how menopause contributes to MS and, eventually, to cardiovascular disease.

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