Endothelial microparticles as markers of endothelial dysfunction

Lawrence L. Horstman, Wenche Jy, Joaquin J. Jimenez, Yeon S. Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


Endothelial microparticles (EMP) are small vesicles released from disturbed endothelial cells (EC). Owing to the central importance of EC injury in thrombotic and inflammatory conditions, assay of EMP as a marker of EC disturbance has come under intensive development by several laboratories. The review begins with established markers of EC injury, commonly soluble markers such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, von Willebrand factor (vWF), etc., pointing out that many of these are in fact mixtures of true soluble molecules with membrane-bound forms, i.e., EMP. Assays of EMP from different labs are reviewed and standardization of assay is recommended. EMP are heterogeneous: those released in activation vs. apoptosis are distinctive in phenotypic markers and procoagulant properties. Application of EMP phenotype analysis can distinguish EC state of activation from apoptosis. Some EMP carry functional vWF with properties different from soluble vWF. Certain EMP bind to and activate monocytes; EMP-monocyte conjugates were found to be a marker of inflammatory disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS), and to enhance transendothelial migration of leukocytes in vitro. Clinical studies have revealed elevated plasma levels of EMP in lupus anticoagulant (LA), multiple sclerosis (MS), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, preeclampsia, and diabetes. Further refinement of EMP assay could open new windows for evaluating and monitoring endothelial injury in thrombotic and inflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1135
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
StatePublished - 2004


  • Coagulation
  • Eclampsia
  • Endothelial microparticles
  • Endothelium
  • Hypertension
  • Leukocyte
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Preeclampsia
  • Purpura
  • Review
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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