The Many Faces of Endothelial Microparticles
Endothelial microparticles (EMP) are complex vesicular structures shed from activated or apoptotic endothelial cells. They play a remarkable role in coagulation, inflammation, endothelial function, and angiogenesis and thus disturb the vascular homeostasis, contributing to the progression of vascular diseases. As a cause or a consequence, elevated levels of EMP were found in plasma from patients with vascular diseases, where they serve as a surrogate marker of endothelial function. More recent data challenged the presumed deleterious role of EMP because they could promote cell survival, exert antiinflammatory effects, counteract coagulation processes, or induce endothelial regeneration. This review focuses on the ambivalent role of EMP in vascular homeostasis.
- endothelial function
- vascular biology
- Received October 11, 2010.
- Accepted October 15, 2010.
- © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.