Theranostics 2018; 8(14):3874-3890. doi:10.7150/thno.23334

Research Paper

Circulating ectosomes: Determination of angiogenic microRNAs in type 2 diabetes

Ewa Ł. Stępień1✉, Martyna Durak-Kozica1, Agnieszka Kamińska1, Marta Targosz-Korecka2, Marcin Libera3, Grzegorz Tylko4, Agnieszka Opalińska5, Maria Kapusta6, Bogdan Solnica6, Adriana Georgescu7, Marina C. Costa8, Agnieszka Czyżewska-Buczyńska9, Wojciech Witkiewicz9, Maciej T. Małecki10, Francisco J. Enguita8✉

1. Department of Medical Physics, M. Smoluchowski Institute of Physics, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
2. Department of Physics of Nanostructures and Nanotechnology, Institute of Physics Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
3. Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, Zabrze, Poland
4. Department of Cell Biology and Imaging Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University
5. Institute of High Pressure Physics, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland
6. Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland
7. Department of Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, Institute of Cellular Biology and Pathology, 'Nicolae Simionescu' of Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania
8. Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-028 Lisbon, Portugal
9. WroVasc - Integrated Cardiovascular Centre, Regional Specialist Hospital, Research and Development Centre, Wroclaw, Poland
10. Department of Metabolic Disease, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Stępień EŁ, Durak-Kozica M, Kamińska A, Targosz-Korecka M, Libera M, Tylko G, Opalińska A, Kapusta M, Solnica B, Georgescu A, Costa MC, Czyżewska-Buczyńska A, Witkiewicz W, Małecki MT, Enguita FJ. Circulating ectosomes: Determination of angiogenic microRNAs in type 2 diabetes. Theranostics 2018; 8(14):3874-3890. doi:10.7150/thno.23334. Available from

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Ectosomes (Ects) are a subpopulation of extracellular vesicles formed by the process of plasma membrane shedding. In the present study, we profiled ectosome-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and analyzed their pro- and anti-angiogenic potential.

Methods: We used different approaches for detecting and enumerating Ects, including atomic force microscopy, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Furthermore, we used bioinformatics tools to analyze functional data obtained from specific miRNA enrichment signatures during angiogenesis and vasculature development.

Results: Levels of miR-193b-3p, miR-199a-3p, miR-20a-3p, miR-26b-5p, miR-30b-5p, miR-30c-5p, miR-374a-5p, miR-409-3p, and miR-95-3p were significantly different between Ects obtained from patients with T2DM and those obtained from healthy controls.

Conclusion: Our results showed differences in the abundance of pro- and anti-angiogenic miRNAs in Ects of patients with T2DM, and are suggestive of mechanisms underlying the development of vascular complications due to impaired angiogenesis in such patients.

Keywords: angiogenesis, diabetes, extracellular vesicles, microRNA, systems biology