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OBJECTIVE: Circulating microvesicles (MV) are surrogate biomarkers of atherosclerosis. However, their role in acute coronary syndromes (ACS) has not been fully elucidated yet. We sought to examine the association of circulating apoptotic MVs with ACS pathophysiology. APPROACH AND RESULTS: One hundred and fifty-three patients (n = 153) were included in the study; 49 patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), 35 with non-STEMI (NSTEMI), 38 with unstable angina, 15 with stable coronary artery disease and 16 control individuals. Flow cytometry analysis was used to quantify circulating apoptotic/non-apoptotic (phospatidyloserine+/phospatidyloserine-) endothelial cell (EMV), red blood cell (RMV) and platelet (PMV) derived MV. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery was assessed by ultrasound to estimate endothelial function. The inflammatory profile was assessed by serum C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels. Apoptotic only (but not non-apoptotic) MV were increased in patients with ACS (EMV, P = 2.32 × 10-9; RMV, P = .0019; PMV, P = .01). Hierarchical clustering of the total population of ACS patients (n = 122) by circulating levels of phospatidyloserine+ EMV, RMV and PMV identified two discreet clusters of patients without any differences in traditional risk factors, but significant differences in brachial FMD (5.2% (2.5) vs. 4.1% (2.3), P 

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Cell Cardiol

Publication Date





110 - 114


Acute coronary syndromes, Apoptotic, Endothelial dysfunction, Microvesicles, Plaque rupture, Acute Coronary Syndrome, Apoptosis, Cell-Derived Microparticles, Endothelium, Vascular, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Rupture