The fact that certain ethnic groups and specific populations residing in certain geographic areas carry an increased risk for thrombosis and that thrombosis occurs in young patients without established risk factors indicates the presence of new, previously unrecognized inherited conditions predisposing to thrombosis. We are now aware that interindividual variations within the loci coding for proteins relevant to lipid and vascular metabolisms as well as blood coagulation are universally found. Platelets play central roles in cerebrovascular diseases and acute coronary syndromes, as demonstrated by histopathological findings and clinical observations showing the efficacy of antiplatelet therapies for these disorders. In this article, we show our recent findings on the association between coronary artery disease (CAD) and polymorphisms in platelet membrane glycoproteins. The glycoprotein (GP) Ib/IX complex is a receptor for von Willebrand factor, which mediates shear stress-dependent platelet activation. It has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of acute coronary syndromes. We have determined genotypes of the 'size-polymorphism' of GPIbα - i.e., the variable number (1~4) of a 13 amino acid sequence (399-411) - in angiographically proven Japanese CAD patients with myocardial infarction or angina pectoris as well as in individuals from the general population with no history of angina or other heart diseases and normal resting electrocardiograms (ECG). We have found that the genotypes having at least one 4-repeat allele (4R) are more frequently found in patients than in controls. Logistic regression analyses for the adjustment of age, sex, and other acquired coronary risk factors provided an odds ratio of 7.94 (p = 0.0043) for those with 4R vs. those without 4R, suggesting that the presence of 4R is an independent risk factor for CAD. The molecular mechanisms underlying this association are currently under investigation. Relationships between arterial thrombosis and polymorphisms in other platelet GPs (collagen receptor and fibrinogen receptor), blood coagulation factors, fibrinolytic factors, vasoactive substances, and factors relevant for lipid metabolisms are also discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine