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Neurology. 2001 May 22;56(10):1319-24.

Elevated plasma endothelial microparticles in multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, University of Miami, FL 33136, USA.



To assess endothelial dysfunction in patients with MS and to investigate whether plasma from patients with MS induces endothelial cell dysfunction in vitro.


Endothelial cell dysfunction may contribute to the pathogenesis of MS. Elevations of soluble adhesion molecules intracellular adhesion molecule, vascular cell adhesion molecule, and platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (CD31) have been reported as markers of blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage in MS, but direct assay of endothelium has been difficult. Endothelial cells release microparticles < approximately 1.5 microm (EMP) during activation or apoptosis. The authors developed a flow cytometric assay of EMP and studied EMP as markers of endothelial damage in MS.


Platelet-poor plasma (PPP) from 50 patients with MS (30 in exacerbation and 20 in remission) and 48 controls were labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated anti-CD31 and anti-CD51 (vitronectin receptor) antibodies, and two classes of EMP (CD31+ and CD51+) were assayed by flow cytometry. For in vitro studies, patients' plasma was added to the microvascular endothelial cell (MVEC) culture and release of CD31+ and CD51+ EMP were measured in the supernatant.


Plasma from patients in exacerbation had 2.85-fold elevation of CD31+ EMP as compared with healthy controls, returning to near control value during remission. The CD31+ EMP concentration showed a positive association with gadolinium enhancement in patients with MS. In contrast, CD51+ EMP remained elevated in both exacerbation and remission. This suggests that CD31+ EMP is a marker of acute injury, whereas CD51+ EMP reflects chronic injury of endothelium. MS plasma induced release of both CD31+ and CD51+ EMP from MVEC culture in vitro.


Endothelial dysfunction is evident during exacerbation of MS, evidenced by shedding of EMP expressing PECAM-1 (CD31). The in vitro data indicate contribution of one or more plasma factors in endothelial dysfunction of MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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