Heterogeneity in neutrophil microparticles reveals distinct proteome and functional properties

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Aug;12(8):2205-19. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M113.028589. Epub 2013 May 8.


Altered plasma neutrophil microparticle levels have recently been implicated in a number of vascular and inflammatory diseases, yet our understanding of their actions is very limited. Herein, we investigate the proteome of neutrophil microparticles in order to shed light on their biological actions. Stimulation of human neutrophils, either in suspension or adherent to an endothelial monolayer, led to the production of microparticles containing >400 distinct proteins with only 223 being shared by the two subsets. For instance, postadherent microparticles were enriched in alpha-2 macroglobulin and ceruloplasmin, whereas microparticles produced by neutrophils in suspension were abundant in heat shock 70 kDa protein 1. Annexin A1 and lactotransferrin were expressed in both microparticle subsets. We next determined relative abundance of these proteins in three types of human microparticle samples: healthy volunteer plasma, plasma of septic patients and skin blister exudates finding that these proteins were differentially expressed on neutrophil microparticles from these samples reflecting in part the expression profiles we found in vitro. Functional assessment of the neutrophil microparticles subsets demonstrated that in response to direct stimulation neutrophil microparticles produced reactive oxygen species and leukotriene B4 as well as locomoted toward a chemotactic gradient. Finally, we investigated the actions of the two neutrophil microparticles subsets described herein on target cell responses. Microarray analysis with human primary endothelial cells incubated with either microparticle subset revealed a discrete modulation of endothelial cell gene expression profile. These findings demonstrate that neutrophil microparticles are heterogenous and can deliver packaged information propagating the activation status of the parent cell, potentially exerting novel and fundamental roles both under homeostatic and disease conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Female
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene B4 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Proteome
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Proteome
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Leukotriene B4