Circulating Small Extracellular Vesicles Reflect the Severity of Myocardial Damage in STEMI Patients

Biomolecules. 2023 Sep 29;13(10):1470. doi: 10.3390/biom13101470.


Circulating small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) contribute to inflammation, coagulation and vascular injury, and have great potential as diagnostic markers of disease. The ability of sEVs to reflect myocardial damage assessed by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is unknown. To fill this gap, plasma sEVs were isolated from 42 STEMI patients treated by primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) and evaluated by CMR between days 3 and 6. Nanoparticle tracking analysis showed that sEVs were greater in patients with anterior STEMI (p = 0.0001), with the culprit lesion located in LAD (p = 0.045), and in those who underwent late revascularization (p = 0.038). A smaller sEV size was observed in patients with a low myocardial salvage index (MSI, p = 0.014). Patients with microvascular obstruction (MVO) had smaller sEVs (p < 0.002) and lower expression of the platelet marker CD41-CD61 (p = 0.039). sEV size and CD41-CD61 expression were independent predictors of MVO/MSI (OR [95% CI]: 0.93 [0.87-0.98] and 0.04 [0-0.61], respectively). In conclusion, we provide evidence that the CD41-CD61 expression in sEVs reflects the CMR-assessed ischemic damage after STEMI. This finding paves the way for the development of a new strategy for the timely identification of high-risk patients and their treatment optimization.

Keywords: cardiac magnetic resonance; microvascular obstruction; myocardial infarction; platelets; small extracellular vesicles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention*
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction*

Grants and funding

This work was supported by funding from the Italian Ministry of Health, Rome, Italy (Ricerca Corrente RC2021 and RC2022, and 5x1000 2018) to S.S.B.