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Platelets. 2009 Jun;20(4):250-9. doi: 10.1080/09537100902912451.

Measurement of platelet P-selectin for remote testing of platelet function during treatment with clopidogrel and/or aspirin.

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Cardiovascular Medicine, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.


There is great interest in assessing the efficacy of treatment with clopidogrel and aspirin in patients with cardiovascular disease using procedures that can be used in a remote setting. Here we have established methods to assess the effects of clopidogrel and aspirin on platelets based on measurements of platelet P-selectin. Platelets were stimulated in whole blood by adding the combination of adenosine diphosphate and the TXA(2) mimetic U46619 (ADP/U4, designed to assess P2Y(12) inhibition) or the combination of arachidonic acid and epinephrine (AA/Epi, designed to assess COX-1 inhibition). The stimulated samples were then fixed using a fixative solution that provides stability for at least 9 days, and sent to a central laboratory for analysis of P-selectin by flow cytometry. Measurements were performed in blood from healthy volunteers and patients with cardiovascular disease. The inhibitory effects of clopidogrel and aspirin were assessed ex vivo and the effects of the direct acting P2Y(12) antagonist cangrelor and aspirin were assessed in vitro. Measurements of platelet aggregation were also performed for comparison. In healthy volunteers clopidogrel ex vivo and cangrelor in vitro markedly inhibited P-selectin expression induced by ADP/U4. Aspirin did not inhibit and did not interfere with the effects of clopidogrel or cangrelor using this test. There was very little overlap of results obtained in the absence and presence of clopidogrel or cangrelor. In contrast, over half of 42 patients with cardiovascular disease did not respond well to clopidogrel treatment, although cangrelor was still effective. Aspirin markedly inhibited P-selectin expression induced by AA/Epi. Clopidogrel had much less effect and did not interfere with the effects of aspirin. There was no overlap of results obtained in the absence and presence of aspirin. Aspirin provided near-complete inhibition in 29 of 30 patients with cardiovascular disease. Aggregometry measurements agreed well with the P-selectin data obtained ex vivo following both clopidogrel and aspirin treatment. It is concluded that measurements of P-selectin performed on fixed blood samples following platelet stimulation in whole blood in a remote setting can be used effectively to monitor the effects of clopidogrel and aspirin.

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