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Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: the role of platelet activation and therapeutic implications

, : Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: the role of platelet activation and therapeutic implications. Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis 25 Suppl 1: 67-75

In the past, heparin has been the sole anticoagulant for interventional cardiovascular procedures. Today, several alternate approaches to anticoagulate patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) are under consideration. Antiplatelet drugs, such as the ADP receptor antagonists and inhibitors of glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa, are currently in development. We investigated the effect of two anti-platelet agents on platelet activation induced by HIT serum (n = 5 HIT positive sera, n = 5 HIT negative sera and n = 4 donor platelets) and heparin, using the traditional platelet aggregation assay, a Lumi-aggregation assay to also determine platelet release, and flow cytometry. By all methods, the GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor-GPI 562 (Novartis; Nürnberg, Germany)-produced a concentration dependent (6.25 to 125 ng/mL) decrease in platelet activation, as shown by platelet aggregation, platelet microparticle formation, P-selectin expression, and ATP release. Similar results were obtained with the thienopyridine ADP receptor antagonist ticlopidine (Sanofi Recherche; Toulouse, France) in vitro at high concentrations of 5.0 to 50 microg/mL and ex vivo in a patient dosed at 250 mg/day. These studies show that GP IIb/IIIa and ADP receptor inhibitors can block platelet activation induced by HIT serum/heparin, providing evidence that the mechanism of HIT may be multifactorial involving not only the generation of the heparin-PF4 or other antibodies but also involving platelet-specific processes and, potentially, the generation of proaggregatory substances. The new antiplatelet agents may be useful in the clinical management of HIT patients.


PMID: 10357155

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