Microparticles and exercise in clinical populations

Microparticles (MPs) are shed membrane vesicles released from a variety of cell types in response to cellular activation or apoptosis. They are elevated in a wide variety of disease states and have been previously measured to assess both disease activity and severity. However, recent research suggests that they also possess bioeffector functions, including but not limited to promoting coagulation and thrombosis, inducing endothelial dysfunction, increasing pro‐inflammatory cytokine release and driving angiogenesis, thereby increasing cardiovascular risk. Current evidence suggests that exercise may reduce both the number and pathophysiological potential of circulating MPs, making them an attractive therapeutic target. However, the existing body of literature is largely comprised of in vitro or animal studies and thus drawing meaningful conclusions with regards to health and disease remains difficult. In this review, we highlight the role of microparticles in disease, comment on the use of exercise and dietary manipulation as a therapeutic strategy, and suggest future research directions that would serve to address some of the limitations present in the research to date.