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Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 May 15;83(10):1364-73. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2012.02.006. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Prednisolone exerts exquisite inhibitory properties on platelet functions.

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William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.


We have previously reported presence of the glucocorticoid (GC) receptor (GR) alpha on blood platelets, and its ability to modulate platelet aggregation when activated by the synthetic GC prednisolone (Pred). In the present study we investigated the effects of Pred on broader aspects of platelet functions to unveil novel non-genomic actions on this cell type. Using whole blood assay we demonstrated that Pred was the only GC able to inhibit platelet aggregation and platelet-monocyte interactions. This latter effect was due to regulation of platelets, not monocytes. We next examined the effects of Pred on physiological actions of platelets, observing inhibition of platelet adhesion and spreading on collagen under static conditions. Moreover Pred inhibited thrombus formation under flow, suggesting potential important effects in haemostasis and thrombosis. Pred was unable to regulate platelet reactivity under conditions where the effects of platelet-derived ADP and TxA₂ were blocked, suggesting that the GC targeted the activation-dependent component of the adhesion and aggregation response. The effects of Pred were not mediated through cyclic nucleotide signaling, but rather seemed to evolve around selective regulation of P2Y₁₂ ADP receptor signaling, intimating a novel mode of action. This study details the actions of Pred on platelets unveiling novel properties which could be relevant for this GC in controlling unwanted vascular and thrombotic diseases.

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