Characterizing blood microparticles: technical aspects and challenges

Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2008;4(4):769-74. doi: 10.2147/vhrm.s955.


Although long considered to be cellular debris, microparticles (MPs) are more recently considered reflective of cellular stimulation, activation, and degeneration/apoptosis. MPs that arise from the cellular components of blood and the endothelial lining of blood vessels are referred to as blood MPs and by general consensus are small (< or = 1.5 microm), expose the anionic phospholipid (PL) phosphatidylserine (PS) on the outer leaflet of their membrane, and bear surface membrane antigens reflecting their cellular origin. This brief review summarizes the different approaches used by several groups to study blood MPs. The aim of this article is to review the technical aspects of characterizing the morphological and functional properties of blood MPs with emphasis on the preanalytical and analytical variables involved in these studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay* / methods
  • Blood Cells / metabolism*
  • Blood Cells / pathology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / pathology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Phospholipids / metabolism


  • Phospholipids