Background: The various aetiologies and risk factors for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) lead to close phenotypes with small differences. Plasma microparticles have been shown to be increased in vascular pathologies including PAH. The aim of this study was to determine whether the levels of endothelial and platelet-derived microparticles could vary between different forms of PAH: idiopathic PAH (iPAH), heritable PAH associated with BMPR2 (Bone morphogenetic protein receptor, type II) mutation (hPAH) and PAH associated with connective tissue diseases (aPAH).
Materials and methods: Microparticles were analysed using flow cytometry in plasma from controls and iPAH, hPAH and aPAH patients. Platelet-derived MP (PMP) were defined as CD31(+)/CD41(+) and endothelial-derived MP (EMP) as CD31(+)/CD41(-). Two populations of PMP were isolated according to their size, defining small PMP (0·3-0·5 μm) and large PMP (0·5-0·9 μm). BMPR2 genotype, clinical and biologic parameters were recorded.
Results: EMP and small PMP levels in iPAH, hPAH and aPAH were similar and were significantly increased as compared with controls. No differences in large PMP levels were observed. After adjusting for age, sex, proBNP and CRP, EMP and small PMP levels did not correlate with clinical parameters.
Conclusions: iPAH, hPAH and aPAH were characterized by increased levels of EMP and of small PMP, a new class of PMP which seems to be differentially produced than large PMP.
© 2012 The Authors. European Journal of Clinical Investigation © 2012 Stichting European Society for Clinical Investigation Journal Foundation.