Platelets are essential mediators of physiological hemostasis and pathological thrombosis. Currently available tests and markers of platelet activation did not prove successful in guiding treatment decisions for patients with cardiovascular disease, justifying further research into novel markers of platelet reactivity. Platelets contain a variety of microRNAs (miRNAs) and are a major contributor to the extracellular circulating miRNA pool. Levels of platelet-derived miRNAs in the circulation have been associated with different measures of platelet activation as well as antiplatelet therapy and have therefore been implied as potential new markers of platelet reactivity. In contrast to the ex vivo assessment of platelet reactivity by current platelet function tests, miRNA measurements may enable assessment of platelet reactivity in vivo. It remains to be seen however, whether miRNAs may aid clinical diagnostics. Major limitations in the platelet miRNA research field remain the susceptibility to preanalytical variation, non-standardized sample preparation and data normalization that hampers inter-study comparisons. In this review, we provide an overview of the literature on circulating miRNAs as biomarkers of platelet activation, highlighting the underlying biology, the application in patients with cardiovascular disease and antiplatelet therapy and elaborating on technical limitations regarding their quantification in the circulation.
- Platelets, microRNA, noncoding RNA, biomarker, cardiovascular disease, thrombosis