Platelets in Atherothrombosis

Vorchheimer, David A.; Becker, Richard
January 2006
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;Jan2006, Vol. 81 Issue 1, p59
Academic Journal
Atherosclerosis is a diffuse, systemic disease that affects the coronary, cerebral, and peripheral arterial trees. Disruption of atherosclerotic plaques leads to thrombus formation and arterial occlusion. This unpredictable and potentially life-threatening atherothrombotic sequence underlies clinical events such as angina, myocardial infarction, transient ischemic attacks, and stroke. One of the key components of a clot is the platelet. Although it was previously thought that platelets were relatively inactive cells that merely provided a framework for the attachment of other cells and proteins to mechanically stop bleeding due to injury, it is now known that this is not the case. Platelets secrete and express a large number of substances that are crucial mediators of both coagulation and inflammation. This article reviews the centrality of the platelet in atherothrombosis and briefly looks at the efficacy of antiplatelet agents in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.


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