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Curr Pharm Des. 2005;11(18):2331-65.

Blood platelet reactivity and its pharmacological modulation in (people with) diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Haemostasis and Haemostatic Disorders, Medical University of Lodz, Poland.


Blood platelets play a crucial role in physiological haemostasis and in pathology of prothrombotic states, including atherosclerosis. In this paper, we review major factors underlying altered platelet reactivity, with special attention paid to abnormalities in platelet function in people with diabetes mellitus (DM). The overall picture of platelet abnormalities in DM, including altered adhesion and aggregation, is hypersensitivity of diabetic platelets to agonists. "Primed" diabetic platelets respond more frequently even to subthreshold stimuli, sooner become exhausted, consumed and finally hyposensitive, thus contributing to accelerated thrombopoiesis and release of 'fresh' hyperreactive platelets. In diabetes disturbed carbohydrate and lipid metabolism may lead to physicochemical changes in cell membrane dynamics, and consequently result in altered exposure of surface membrane receptors. These phenomena, together with increased fibrinogen binding, prostanoid metabolism, phosphoinositide turnover and calcium mobilisation often present in diabetic patients, contribute to enhanced risk of small vessel occlusions and accelerated development of atherothrombotic disease of coronary, cerebral and other vessels in diabetes. As platelet hypersensitivity in DM makes a major contribution to enhanced risk of thromboembolic macroangiopathy, and consequently enhanced morbidity and mortality, it validates use of antiplatelet agents in diabetic individuals. Platelet hyperreactivity may be cured with various antiplatelet drugs to a considerably large extent notwithstanding, evidence gathered from clinical and experimental surveys shows that this approach may not always be equally efficient in people with diabetes. Observations from clinical studies rather support the use of multifactorial strategy under such circumstances, like a combined therapy of aspirin plus either purinoreceptor blocker or GPIIb-IIIa antagonist.

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