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Circulation. 1985 Dec;72(6):1194-201.

The biochemical pharmacology of thromboxane synthase inhibition in man.


Selective inhibitors of thromboxane synthase have two theoretical advantages over inhibitors of the cyclooxygenase enzyme as potential antithrombotic compounds. First, they do not prevent formation of prostacyclin, a platelet-inhibitory, vasodilator compound, coincident with inhibiting thromboxane biosynthesis. Second, the prostaglandin endoperoxide substrate that accumulates in the platelet in the presence of thromboxane synthase inhibition may be donated to endothelial prostacyclin synthase at the site of platelet-vascular interactions (endoperoxide "steal"). Selective inhibition of thromboxane biosynthesis coincident with enhanced prostacyclin formation in vivo has been observed after administration of these compounds to man. Despite these attractive features and the efficacy of these compounds in diverse short-term animal preparations of thrombosis, investigations of their efficacy in human disease have proven disappointing. This may reflect on the importance of thromboxane A2 in the diseases that have been investigated. Alternatively, the lack of drug efficacy may have resulted from either incomplete suppression of thromboxane biosynthesis and/or substitution for the biological effects of thromboxane A2 by prostaglandin endoperoxides during long-term dosing studies. Given that selective inhibition of thromboxane formation can be approached with aspirin, the particular value of these compounds is dependent on enhancing prostacyclin formation. Aspirin inhibits thromboxane-dependent platelet activation, but many platelet agonists are likely to act in concert in vivo and prostacyclin inhibits platelet aggregation induced by both thromboxane-dependent and thromboxane-independent mechanisms. To test the hypothesis that thromboxane synthase inhibitors are efficacious in human disease, compounds of longer duration of action are required. Combination with antagonists of the prostaglandin/thromboxane A2 receptor may be necessary to reveal their full beneficial action.

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