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Eur Heart J. 2010 Jan;31(1):17-28. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehp504. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Platelet thrombin receptor antagonism and atherothrombosis.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine -Jacksonville, Shands Jacksonville, 655 West 8th St, Jacksonville, FL 32209, USA.


Clinical manifestations of atherothrombotic disease, such as acute coronary syndromes, cerebrovascular events, and peripheral arterial disease, are major causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Platelet activation and aggregation are ultimately responsible for the progression and clinical presentations of atherothrombotic disease. The current standard of care, dual oral antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and the P2Y(12) adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor inhibitor clopidogrel, has been shown to improve outcomes in patients with atherothrombotic disease. However, aspirin and P2Y(12) inhibitors target the thromboxane A(2) and the ADP P2Y(12) platelet activation pathways and minimally affect other pathways, while agonists such as thrombin, considered to be the most potent platelet activator, continue to stimulate platelet activation and thrombosis. This may help explain why patients continue to experience recurrent ischaemic events despite receiving such therapy. Furthermore, aspirin and P2Y(12) receptor antagonists are associated with bleeding risk, as the pathways they inhibit are critical for haemostasis. The challenge remains to develop therapies that more effectively inhibit platelet activation without increasing bleeding complications. The inhibition of the protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) for thrombin has been shown to inhibit thrombin-mediated platelet activation without increasing bleeding in pre-clinical models and small-scale clinical trials. PAR-1 inhibition in fact does not interfere with thrombin-dependent fibrin generation and coagulation, which are essential for haemostasis. Thus PAR-1 antagonism coupled with existing dual oral antiplatelet therapy may potentially offer more comprehensive platelet inhibition without the liability of increased bleeding.

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