Microparticles as immune regulators in infectious disease-an opinion

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Frontiers in Immunology, 2011, 2 (NOV)
Issue Date:
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Despite their clear relationship to immunology, few existing studies have examined the potential role of microparticles (MP) in infectious disease. MP have a different size range from exosomes and apoptotic bodies, with which they are often grouped and arise by different mechanisms in association with inflammatory cytokine action or stress on the source cell. Infection with pathogens usually leads to the expression of a range of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, as well as significant stress in both infected and uninfected cells. It is thus reasonable to infer that infection-associated inflammation also leads to MP production. MP are produced by most of the major cell types in the immune system, and appear to be involved at both innate and adaptive levels, potentially serving different functions in each. Thus, they do not appear to have a universal function; instead their functions are sourceor stimulus-dependent, although likely to be primarily either proor anti-inflammatory. We argue that in infectious diseases, MP may be able to deliver antigen, derived from the biological cargo acquired from their cells of origin, to antigen-presenting cells. Another potential benefit of MP would be to transfer and/or disseminate phenotype and function to target cells. However, MP may also potentially be manipulated, particularly by intracellular pathogens, for survival advantage. © 2011 Ling, Combes, Grau and King.
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