All blood cells and the vascular endothelium shed microparticles (MP) from their plasma membranes when suitably stimulated, and assay of MP in patient blood has found increasing application to the monitoring of disease states. In addition, mounting evidence suggests that MP are not mere epiphenomena but play significant roles in the pathophysiology of thromboses, inflammation, and cancers. This chapter endeavors to summarize the limited number of studies thus far done on MP in neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), transient ischemic attacks, and the neurological manifestations of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). In addition, the chapter offers some plausible hypotheses on possible roles of MP in the pathophsyiology of these disorders, chiefly, the hypothesis that MP are indeed important participants in some neuropathologies, especially those which are ischemic in nature, but probably also inflammatory ones. The chapter also goes over the history and general principles of MP studies (e.g., assay methods and pitfalls), comparison with alternative methods (e.g., soluble markers of disease states), subclasses of MP (such as exosomes), and other topics aimed at helping readers to consider MP studies in their own clinical fields. Tables include a listing of bioactive agents known to be carried on MP, many of which were heretofore considered strictly soluble, and some of which can be transferred from cell to cell via MP vectors, for example certain cytokine receptors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology