, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 291-296
Date: 28 Oct 2011

Microparticles and microRNAs: new players in the complex field of coagulation

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Abstract

Atherosclerosis is a complex process that begins with endothelial dysfunction, and continues with several inflammatory processes leading, eventually, to plaque rupture and formation of arterial thrombus. Increased platelet reactivity and classical coagulation pathways are not the only players of the whole thrombotic process: microparticles (MPs), irregularly shaped small vesicles released from the plasma membrane after cell activation, apoptosis, or exposure to shear stress have been demonstrated to be involved in such a process. MicroRNAs (MiRs), small-non-coding single-strand RNAs acting as post-transcriptional modulator of target gene expression are expressed in the large majority of eukaryotes. MiRs are implicated in several phenomena: control of metabolism, control of cell-differentiation, control of cell-proliferation and control of cell-apoptosis, therefore contributing to physiologic and pathogenic processes in hematologic, genetic, infective and cardiac diseases. Microparticles operate as a delivery system of MiRs, playing an active and important role in processes such as coagulation and thrombosis. These novel findings also suggest MPs and, in particular MIRs, as possible and promising therapeutic targets.