Summary of the known roles of microparticles (MPs) in human lung diseases

Disease and MP typeMediumSignificance or hypothesised roleReferences
 EMPsPlasmaMarkers of emphysema: increased apoptotic (CD31+) MPs in early emphysema and mild COPD[42, 43]
Prognostic markers for exacerbation susceptibility: increased apoptotic (CD31+) and activated (CD62E+) MPs during exacerbations; increased activated MPs in stable COPD at higher risk for future exacerbations[44]
Prognostic markers for functional decline over time: correlation of number of activated (CD62E+) MPs and FEV1 decline[45]
 PMPsPlasmaRole in organising bronchial inflammation[46]
 TF-bearing MPsBALFPromoting hypercoagulability during asthma exacerbations[47]
Diffuse parenchymal lung disease
 PMPs and MMPsPlasmaMarkers of lung involvement in systemic sclerosis[48]
 TF-bearing MPsBALFMarkers of disease severity; promoting myofibroblast differentiation and activity[49]
 Total MPsBALFLocal activation of the coagulation cascade; possible target for treatment[50]
 LMPsPlasmaPrognostic markers: increased in survivors[51]
Pulmonary embolism and VTE
 EMPsPlasmaPromoting clot formation? (inconclusive data)[15, 52]
 TF-bearing MPsPlasmaPromoting clotting in cancer patients[53–56]
PlasmaPossible markers for therapeutic decisions (i.e. thromboprophylaxis)[57]
Lung cancer
 PMPs and MMPsPlasmaPromoting hypercoagulability and tumour angiogenesis[58]
 Total MPs, PMPs and EMPsPlasmaPrognostic markers? (inconclusive data); increased “activated” EMPs (CD31+CD42bannexinV) in survivors[59–61]
Pulmonary hypertension
 TF-bearing MPsPlasmaProthrombotic role in advanced PAH[62]
 EMPsPlasmaMarkers of endothelial damage[62]
Markers of different pathogenic patterns[63]
Prognostic markers[64]
  • COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; EMPs: endothelial cell-derived microparticles; FEV1: forced expiratory volume in 1 s; PMPs: platelet-derived microparticles; TF: tissue factor; BALF: bronchoalveolar lavage fluid; MMPs: monocyte-derived microparticles; ARDS: acute respiratory distress syndrome; ALI: acute lung injury; LMPs: leukocyte-derived microparticles; VTE: venous thromboembolism; PAH: pulmonary arterial hypertension.