Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Hematol. 2009 Sep;37(9):1030-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2009.06.011. Epub 2009 Jul 24.

Comparative analyses of the small molecule thrombopoietin receptor agonist eltrombopag and thrombopoietin on in vitro platelet function.

Author information

Department of Oncology, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, PA 19426, USA.



The thrombopoietin receptor (TPOR) is a therapeutic target for treatment of thrombocytopenia because stimulation of this receptor results in enhanced megakaryocyte proliferation, differentiation, and ultimately platelet production. In addition to effects on megakaryocytes, TPOR stimulation also impacts platelet function. The present study examined platelet function following stimulation with the small molecule TPOR agonist eltrombopag.


Platelets were obtained from healthy volunteers, and signal transduction pathway activation was examined in washed platelet preparations. Platelet aggregation was examined in both washed platelet preparations and platelet-rich plasma. Platelet alpha-granule release was determined via fluorescein-activated cell sorting measurement of CD62P.


In signal transduction studies of washed human platelets, eltrombopag induced the phosphorylation signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) proteins with no phosphorylation of Akt, whereas recombinant human TPO (rhTPO) induced the phosphorylation of Akt as well as STAT-1, -3, and -5. In studies conducted at subthreshold/submaximal concentrations of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or collagen, eltrombopag pretreatment did not result in platelet aggregation. In contrast, rhTPO acted in synergy with submaximal concentrations of ADP or collagen to induce maximal aggregation under all conditions examined. Similarly, platelet activation as examined via surface expression of CD62P was not enhanced by eltrombopag pretreatment as compared to rhTPO.


These results demonstrate that the nonpeptidyl TPOR agonist eltrombopag stimulates platelet signal transduction with little or no effect on overall platelet function, in contrast to TPO, which significantly primes platelet activation. These data demonstrate that effects of TPOR ligands on platelet function can vary depending on the specific mechanism utilized to stimulate the TPOR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center