, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 811-822,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Jul 2011

Alterations in Platelet Function and Cell-Derived Microvesicles in Recently Menopausal Women: Relationship to Metabolic Syndrome and Atherogenic Risk


A woman’s risk for metabolic syndrome (MS) increases at menopause, with an associated increase in risk for cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that early menopause-related changes in platelet activity and concentrations of microvesicles derived from activated blood and vascular cells provide a mechanistic link to the early atherothrombotic process. Thus, platelet functions and cellular origin of blood-borne microvesicles in recently menopausal women (n = 118) enrolled in the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study were correlated with components of MS and noninvasive measures of cardiovascular disease [carotid artery intima medial thickness (CIMT), coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, and endothelial reactive hyperemic index (RHI)]. Specific to individual components of the MS pentad, platelet number increased with increasing waist circumference, and platelet secretion of ATP and expression of P-selectin decreased with increasing blood glucose (p = 0.005) and blood pressure (p < 0.05), respectively. Waist circumference and systolic blood pressure were independently associated with monocyte- and endothelium-derived microvesicles (p < 0.05). Platelet-derived and total procoagulant phosphatidylserine-positive microvesicles, and systolic blood pressure correlated with CIMT (p < 0.05), but not with CAC or RHI. In summary, among recently menopausal women, specific platelet functions and concentrations of circulating activated cell membrane-derived procoagulant microvesicles change with individual components of MS. These cellular changes may explain in part how menopause contributes to MS and, eventually, to cardiovascular disease.