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Endotheliopathy following trauma is associated with poor outcome, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. This study hypothesized that an increased extracellular vesicle (EV) concentration is associated with endotheliopathy after trauma and that red blood cell (RBC) transfusion could further enhance endotheliopathy. In this post hoc sub study of a multicentre observational trial, 75 trauma patients were stratified into three groups based on injury severity score or shock. In patient plasma obtained at hospital admission and after transfusion of four RBC transfusions, markers for endotheliopathy were measured and EVs were labelled with anti CD41 (platelet EVs), anti CD235a (red blood cell EVs), anti CD45 (leucocyte EVs), anti CD144 (endothelial EVs) or anti CD62e (activated endothelial EVs) and EV concentrations were measured with flow cytometry. Statistical analysis was performed by a Kruskall Wallis test with Bonferroni correction or Wilcoxon rank test for paired data. In patients with shock, syndecan-1 and von Willebrand Factor (vWF) were increased compared to patients without shock. Additionally, patients with shock had increased red blood cell EV and leucocyte EV concentrations compared to patients without shock. Endotheliopathy markers correlated with leucocyte EVs (ρ = 0.263, p = 0.023), but not with EVs derived from other cells. Injury severity score had no relation with EV release. RBC transfusion increased circulating red blood cell EVs but did not impact endotheliopathy. In conclusion, shock is (weakly) associated with EVs from leucocytes, suggesting an immune driven pathway mediated (at least in part) by shock.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Mol Sci

Publication Date





endotheliopathy, extracellular vesicles, shock, trauma, Humans, Shock, Leukocytes, Erythrocyte Transfusion, Blood Transfusion, Extracellular Vesicles