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Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):19-27. Epub 2005 Feb 12.

Contribution of platelet glycoprotein VI to the thrombogenic effect of collagens in fibrous atherosclerotic lesions.

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Department of Human Biology, CARIM, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Collagens (types I and III) are among the strongest thrombus-forming components of the vascular subendothelium. We compared the thrombogenic effects of four collagen-containing advanced atherosclerotic lesions with those of purified types I and III collagen fibers. Cell-free homogenates from the human plaques effectively promoted platelet adhesion and aggregate formation under high-shear flow conditions, as well as exposure of procoagulant phosphatidylserine (PS) on platelets. With all plaques, blocking of the glycoprotein VI (GPVI) receptor for collagen abolished aggregation and PS exposure. Blocking of platelet ADP receptors resulted in similar, but less complete inhibitory effects. Type I collagen was more potent than type III collagen in inducing aggregation and PS exposure under flow, via stimulation of GPVI and ADP receptors. Type I collagen also more strongly enhanced thrombin generation with platelets and tissue factor, again via GPVI activation and PS exposure. The plaque material enhanced thrombin generation, partly due to the presence of tissue factor and partly via GPVI and ADP receptors. Together, these results indicate that in advanced plaques collagen type I is a major trigger of thrombus formation and PS exposure, acting via GPVI and ADP release, while tissue factor directly enhances coagulation.

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