Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a major component of the inner leaflet of membrane bilayers. During cell activation or apoptosis, PS is externalized to the outer membrane, providing an important physiological signal necessary for the release of the microparticles (MPs) that are generated through the budding of cellular membranes. MPs express PS and membrane antigens that reflect their cellular origin. PS exposure on the cell surface and the release of MPs provide binding sites for factor Xa and prothrombinase complexes that promote thrombin formation. Relatively little is known about the role of PS exposure on blood cells and MPs in patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis who have undergone carotid artery stenting (CAS). The authors aimed to investigate the extent of PS exposure on blood cells and MPs and to define its role in procoagulant activity (PCA) in the 7 days following CAS.
The study included patients with ICA stenosis who had undergone CAS (n = 70), matched patients who had undergone catheter angiography only (n = 30), and healthy controls (n = 30). Blood samples were collected from all patients just before the procedure after an overnight fast and at 2, 6, 24, 48, and 72 hours and 7 days after the CAS procedure. Blood was collected from healthy controls after an overnight fast. Phosphatidylserine-positive (PS+) MPs and blood cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, while PCA was assessed with clotting time analysis, purified coagulation complex assays, and fibrin formation assays.
The authors found that levels of PS+ blood cells and PS+ blood cell–derived MPs (platelets and platelet-derived MPs [PMPs], neutrophils and neutrophil-derived MPs [NMPs], monocytes and monocyte-derived MPs [MMPs], erythrocytes and erythrocyte-derived MPs [RMPs], and endothelial cells and endothelial cell–derived MPs [EMPs]) were increased in the 7 days following the CAS procedure. Specifically, elevation of PS exposure on platelets/PMPs, neutrophils/NMPs, and monocytes/MMPs was detected within 2 hours of CAS, whereas PS exposure was delayed on erythrocytes/RMPs and EMPs, with an increase detected 24 hours after CAS. In addition, PS+ platelets/PMPs peaked at 2 hours, while PS+ neutrophils/NMPs, monocytes/MMPs, and erythrocytes/RMPs peaked at 48 hours. After their peak, all persisted at levels above baseline for 7 days post-CAS. Moreover, the level of PS+ blood cells/MPs was correlated with shortened coagulation time and significantly increased intrinsic and extrinsic Xase, thrombin generation, and fibrin formation. Pretreatment of blood cells with lactadherin at their peak time point after CAS blocked PS, resulting in prolonged coagulation times, decreased procoagulant enzyme activation, and fibrin production.
The results of this study suggest that increased exposure of PS on blood cells and MPs may contribute to enhanced PCA in patients with ICA stenosis who have undergone CAS, explaining the risk of perioperative thromboembolic complications in these patients. PS on blood cells and MPs may serve as an important biomarker for predicting, and as a pivotal target for monitoring and treating, acute postoperative complications after CAS.
■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: association; study design: prospective cohort trial; evidence: Class I.