Micro vesicles have for some years now been a topic in cardiovascular research, mainly in cardiology. The source of these vesicles are various cell types, and their function remains in large unclear -are they active parts of the bodies’ system, or are they mere bystanders.
Irrespective of that, if these MV are related to cardiovascular risk in cardiology patients, it is interesting to know to what extent they are related to cardiovascular risk in stroke patients. If so, that will be an indication that they are actually part of the causal mechanism or perhaps a good biomarker that might help stratify patients in meaningful subgroups.
So what did we do? We teamed up with cardiologist specialized in MV to measures various subtypes in 600+ patients with a first-ever ischemic stroke. We then looked at the risk of recurrent events and all cause mortality over a span of three years. Our findings tell a clear story – the higher the levels of MW, the higher the risk. The interpretation however, remains as unsure as when we started. We still do not know whether these MV are a cause, a bystander. More research, also just some hardcore basic research will be needed to further elucidate this distinction. In any case, the HR are not too impressive in this mild to moderate stroke cohort, so don’t expect MV to be added to any risk screening panel anytime soon, especially as the measurement is quite laborious.