Extracellular vesicle-packaged miRNA release after short-term exposure to particulate matter is associated with increased coagulation

Laura Pergoli, Laura Cantone, Chiara Favero, Laura Angelici, Simona Iodice, Eva Pinatel, Mirjam Hoxha, Laura Dioni, Marilena Letizia, Benedetta Albetti, Letizia Tarantini, Federica Rota, Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Amedea Silvia Tirelli, Vincenza Dolo, Andrea Cattaneo, Luisella Vigna, Cristina Battaglia, Michele Carugno, Matteo BonziniAngela Cecilia Pesatori, Valentina Bollati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Exposure to particulate matter (PM) is associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and increased coagulation, but the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations remain unknown. Obesity may increase susceptibility to the adverse effects of PM exposure, exacerbating the effects on cardiovascular diseases. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), which travel in body fluids and transfer microRNAs (miRNAs) between tissues, might play an important role in PM-induced cardiovascular risk. We sought to determine whether the levels of PM with an aerodynamic diameter≤10μm (PM10) are associated with changes in fibrinogen levels, EV release, and the miRNA content of EVs (EV-miRNAs), investigating 1630 overweight/obese subjects from the SPHERE Study. Results: Short-term exposure to PM10 (Day before blood drawing) was associated with an increased release of EVs quantified by nanoparticle tracking analysis, especially EVs derived from monocyte/macrophage components (CD14+) and platelets (CD61+) which were characterized by flow cytometry. We first profiled miRNAs of 883 subjects by the QuantStudio™ 12K Flex Real Time PCR System and the top 40 EV-miRNAs were validated through custom miRNA plates. Nine EV-miRNAs (let-7c-5p; miR-106a-5p; miR-143-3p; miR-185-5p; miR-218-5p; miR-331-3p; miR-642-5p; miR-652-3p; miR-99b-5p) were downregulated in response to PM10 exposure and exhibited putative roles in cardiovascular disease, as highlighted by integrated network analysis. PM10 exposure was significantly associated with elevated fibrinogen levels, and five of the nine downregulated EV-miRNAs were mediators between PM10 exposure and fibrinogen levels. Conclusions: Research on EVs opens a new path to the investigation of the adverse health effects of air pollution exposure. EVs have the potential to act both as markers of PM susceptibility and as potential molecular mechanism in the chain of events connecting PM exposure to increased coagulation, which is frequently linked to exposure and CVD development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalParticle and Fibre Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 24 2017


  • Air pollution
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Fibrinogen
  • MicroRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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