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Am Heart J. 2008 Jan;155(1):93.e1-7. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Effects of clopidogrel and aspirin in combination versus aspirin alone on platelet activation and major receptor expression in diabetic patients: the PLavix Use for Treatment Of Diabetes (PLUTO-Diabetes) trial.

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  • 1HeartDrug Research Laboratories, Towson, MD 21204, USA.



Clopidogrel is widely used in diabetic patients after vascular events; however, the ability of this thienopyridine to yield additional antiplatelet protection on top of aspirin has never been explored in a controlled study with comprehensive assessment of platelet activity. The objective of this study was to compare the antiplatelet profiles of clopidogrel + aspirin in combination (C + ASA) versus aspirin alone (ASA) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.


Seventy patients with documented diabetes already treated with antecedent aspirin were randomly assigned to receive C + ASA or ASA in the PLUTO-Diabetes trial. Platelet studies included adenosine diphosphate-, collagen-, and arachidonic acid-induced aggregometry; PFA-100 (Dade-Behring, Miami, FL) and Ultegra (Accumetrics, San Diego, CA) analyzers; and expression of 6 major receptors by flow cytometry at baseline and at day 30 after randomization.


There were no differences in the baseline clinical and platelet characteristics between the C + ASA and ASA groups, or subsequent significant changes in platelet biomarkers in the ASA group, except for diminished collagen-induced aggregation (P = .02). In contrast, when compared with the ASA group, therapy with C + ASA resulted in significant inhibition of platelet activity assessed by adenosine diphosphate aggregation (P = .0001); closure time prolongation (P = .0003) and reduction of platelet activation units with Ultegra (P = .0001); and expression of platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (P = .002), glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antigen (P = .0002), and activity (P = .0001).


Treatment with C + ASA for 1 month provides significantly greater inhibition of platelet activity than ASA alone in diabetic patients in this small randomized trial. However, despite dual antiplatelet regimen, diabetic patients exhibit high residual activity of some platelet biomarkers, including unaffected protease-activated receptor 1 receptor expression.

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