Author(s): Wu ZH, Ji CL, Li H, Qiu GX, Gao CJ, Weng XS
Membrane microparticles (MPs) are plasma membrane-derived vesicles shed by various types of activated or apoptotic cells including platelets, monocytes, endothelial cells, red blood cells, and granulocytes. MPs are being increasingly recognized as important regulators of cell-to-cell interactions. Recent evidences suggest they may play important functions not only in homeostasis but also in the pathogenesis of a number of diseases such as vascular diseases, cancer, infectious diseases and diabetes mellitus. Accordingly, inhibiting the production of MPs may serve as a novel therapeutic strategy for these diseases. Here we review recent advances on the mechanism underlying the generation of MPs and the role of MPs in vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and pathogen infection.