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Endothelial microparticles: Pathogenic or passive players in endothelial dysfunction in autoimmune rheumatic diseases?

McCarthy, EM and Wilkinson, FL and Parker, B and Alexander, MY (2016) Endothelial microparticles: Pathogenic or passive players in endothelial dysfunction in autoimmune rheumatic diseases? Vascular Pharmacology, 86. pp. 71-76. ISSN 1537-1891

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Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Autoimmune rheumatic diseases are characterised by systemic inflammation and complex immunopathology, with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, initiated by endothelial dysfunction in a chronic inflammatory environment. Endothelial microparticles (EMPs) are released into the circulation from activated endothelial cells and may therefore, reflect disease severity, vascular and endothelial dysfunction, that could influence disease pathogenesis via autocrine/paracrine signalling. The exact function of EMPs in rheumatic disease remains unknown, and this has initiated research to elucidate EMP composition and function, which may be determined by the mode of endothelial activation and the micro environment. To date, EMPs are thought to play a role in angiogenesis, thrombosis and inflammation by transferring specific proteins and microRNAs (miRs) to target cells. Here, we review the mechanisms underlying the generation and composition of EMPs and the clinical and experimental studies describing the involvement of EMPs in rheumatic diseases, since we have previously shown endothelial dysfunction and an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease are characteristics in systemic lupus erythematosus. We will also discuss the potential of EMPs as future biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in these diseases.

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