Send to

Choose Destination
Autoimmunity. 2006 Dec;39(8):683-90.

Microparticles as mediators of cellular cross-talk in inflammatory disease.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine 3, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.


Microparticles are a heterogeneous population of membrane-coated vesicles which can be released from virtually all cell types during activation or apoptosis. Release occurs from the cell surface in an exogenous budding process involving local rearrangement of the cytoskeleton. Given their origin, these particles can be identified by staining for cell surface markers and annexin V. As shown in in vitro studies, microparticles may represent a novel subcellular element for intercellular communication in inflammation. Thus, microparticles can transfer chemokine receptors and arachidonic acid between cells, activate complement, promote leukocyte rolling and stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory mediators. Under certain conditions, however, microparticles may also exert anti-inflammatory properties by inducing immune cell apoptosis and the production of anti-inflammatory mediators. Microparticles may play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatologic diseases as evidenced by their elevation in diseases such as systemic sclerosis (SSc), systemic vasculitis and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome and correlation with clinical events. A role in inflammatory arthritis is suggested by the finding that leukocyte-derived microparticles induce the production of matrix metalloproteinases and cytokines by synovial fibroblasts. Together, these findings point to novel signaling pathways of cellular cross-talk that may operate along the spectrum of soluble cytokines and mediators of direct cell-cell contact.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center