Microparticles and autophagy: a new frontier in the understanding of atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis
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Microparticles (MPs) are small membrane vesicles released by many cell types under physiological and pathological conditions. In the last years, these particles were considered as inert cell debris, but recently many studies have demonstrated they could have a role in intercellular communication. Increased levels of MPs have been reported in various pathological conditions including infections, malignancies, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an autoimmune systemic inflammatory disease characterized by chronic synovial inflammation, resulting in cartilage and bone damage with accelerated atherosclerosis increasing mortality. According to the literature data, also MPs could have a role in endothelial dysfunction, contributing to atherosclerosis in RA patients. Moreover many researchers have shown that a dysregulated autophagy seems to be involved in endothelial dysfunction. Autophagy is a reparative process by which cytoplasmic components are sequestered in double-membrane vesicles and degraded on fusion with lysosomal compartments. It has been shown in many works that basal autophagy is essential to proper vascular function. Taking into account these considerations, we hypothesized that in RA patients MPs could contribute to atherosclerosis process by dysregulation of endothelial autophagy process.
KeywordsMicroparticles Autophagy Atherosclerosis Rheumatoid arthritis
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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