Purpose of review: To summarize the potential role of microparticles in hypertension and in cardiovascular diseases. Microparticles are submicron vesicles shed from the membrane in response to cell activation or apoptosis. Microparticles of different cellular origins are found in the plasma of healthy individuals and their circulating levels augment in patients with cardiovascular diseases.
Recent findings: Recent studies demonstrate that circulating levels of microparticles originating from endothelial cells, which represent a small fraction of the overall pool of plasma microparticles, augment with increased endothelial dysfunction in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, endothelial microparticles constitute an emerging surrogate marker of endothelial dysfunction, with potential prognostic value for major adverse events in patients with cardiovascular diseases. In addition, microparticles of endothelial and other cellular origins are also potential biological effectors in inflammation, vascular injury, angiogenesis and thrombosis.
Summary: In summary, circulating endothelial microparticles may serve not only as an index of arterial damage but also as a trigger of vascular repair.