The goal of the Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP) is to
increase the number of medical students in hematology from under-represented
minority groups by introducing them to hematology in their early years of medical
school. ASH News Daily is pleased to share a summary of the research
conducted by current MMSAP participant Akram Shayeb in the
summer of 2008. His research mentor was Thomas Kickler, MD, of Johns Hopkins
Microparticles are small membrane-bound vesicles released by different cells
either upon activation or apoptosis. Some of the cells that release
microparticles are platelets, leukocytes, monocytes, endothelial, and malignant
cells. They share common membrane and cytoplasmic constitutes with their parent
cells, but they differ in many other characteristics. Platelet-derived
microparticles are an important microparticle group because of their possible
clinical relevance and promising use as platelet activation and prothrombin
Our study focused on platelet-derived microparticle characterization. One of
our main objectives was to standardize microparticle measurement method at lab
by using a commercially novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Furthermore,
we studied the significance of microparticle elevation using the ELISA assay in
a sample of patients with suspected thrombosis.
The study was also designed to determine the correlation between
platelet-derived microparticles and markers of platelet activation, such as
P-selectin, and thrombin generation markers, such as d-dimer and the percentage
of endogenous thrombin generation.
Results indicated presence of microparticles in normal population (3.1±1.2). No
significant difference was observed due to gender bias (2.9±0.9 females vs.
3.2±1.5 p=0.5). Elevated levels of microparticles were defined as anything
above 5 and definitely pathogenic beyond 10. No significant correlation was
observed with microparticles and P-selectin, a platelet activation marker
(p=0.1672); furthermore, we did not find a correlation with microparticles and
markers of thrombin generation such as d-dimer (p=0.085) and percentage of
endogenous thrombin generation (p=0.687).
Further characterization is needed for platelet-derived microparticles in order to establish their possible role as a research tool in thrombosis.
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