Thrombosis and haemostasis

Smoking alters circulating plasma microvesicle pattern and microRNA signatures.

PMID 24573468


Circulating plasma microvesicles (PMVs) and their microRNA content are involved in the development of atherosclerosis and could serve as biomarkers for cardiovascular disease (CVD) progression. However, little is known on how smoking influences the levels of PMVs and microRNA signatures in vivo. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of smoking on circulating PMV levels and CVD-related PMV-derived microRNAs in young, healthy smokers. Twenty young (10 female, 10 male; 25 ± 4 years) healthy smokers (16 ± 6 cigarettes per day for 8 ± 4 years) and age- and sex-matched controls were included in this study. While complete blood count revealed no differences between both groups, smoking significantly enhanced intracellular reactive oxygen species in platelets and leukocytes as well as platelet-leukocyte aggregate formation. Total circulating PMV counts were significantly reduced in smokers, which could be attributed to decreased platelet-derived PMVs. While the number of endothelial PMVs remained unaffected, smoking propagated circulating leukocyte-derived PMVs. Despite reduced total PMVs, PMV-derived microRNA-profiling of six smoker/control pairs revealed a decrease of only a single microRNA, the major platelet-derived microRNA miR-223. Conversely, miR-29b, a microRNA associated with aortic aneurysm and fibrosis, and RNU6-2, a commonly used reference-RNA, were significantly up-regulated. Smoking leads to alterations in the circulating PMV profile and changes in the PMV-derived microRNA signature already in young, healthy adults. These changes may contribute to the development of smoking-related cardiovascular pathologies. Moreover, these smoking-related changes have to be considered when microRNA or PMV profiles are used as disease-specific biomarkers.

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