Modulating thrombotic diathesis in hereditary thrombophilia and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome: a role for circulating microparticles?

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Over the past decades, there have been great advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with inherited and acquired thrombophilia [mainly antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS)]. However, a number of questions remain unanswered. Prognostic markers capable of estimating the individual VTE risk would be of great use. Microparticles (MPs) are sub-micron membrane vesicles constitutively released from the surface of cells after cellular activation and apoptosis. The effects of MPs on thrombogenesis include the exposure of phopshatidylserine and the expression of tissue factor and MPs have been described in clinical studies as possible diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for VTE. This review will provide a novel perspective on the current knowledge and research trends on the possible role of MPs in hereditary thrombophilia and APS. Basically, the published data show that circulating MPs may contribute to the development of VTE in thrombophilic carriers, both in mild and severe states. Moreover, the presence of endothelial-MPs and platelet-MPs has been described in antiphospholipid syndrome and seems to be directly linked to antiphospholipid antibodies and not to other underlying autoimmune disorders or the thrombotic event itself. In conclusion, circulating MPs may constitute an epiphenomenon of thrombophilia itself and could be up-regulated in acute particular conditions, promoting a global prothrombotic state up to the threshold of the clinical relevant thrombotic event.

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