The diagnostic and prognostic potential of plasma extracellular vesicles for cardiovascular disease

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2015;15(12):1577-88. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2015.1109450. Epub 2015 Nov 4.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and its prevalence is expected to rise rapidly worldwide in the coming decades. Atherosclerosis, the syndrome underlying CVD, is a chronic progressive disease of the arteries already present at a young age. Strokes, heart attacks and heart failure are acute CVD events that occur after decades, however, and require timely diagnosis and treatment. Plasma extracellular vesicles (EVs) are microstructures with a lipid bilayer membrane involved in hemostasis, inflammation and injury. Both EV-counts and EV-content are associated with CVD and the identification of plasma EVs is a novel source of blood-based biomarkers with the potential to improve diagnosis and prognosis of CVD. Presented in this review is an overview of the current use of EVs in CVD and a discussion of the need for robust and easy isolation technologies for plasma EV subsets. This is needed to bring this promising field towards clinical application in the patient.

Keywords: Plasma extracellular vesicles; biomarker; cardiovascular disease; flow cytometry; microparticles; vesicle content; vesicle counts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Extracellular Vesicles*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / blood
  • Prognosis
  • Proteomics / methods


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs