Platelet hyperactivity is likely to contribute to the progression of atherogenesis and organized thrombus formation on vascular surfaces. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of hypercholesterolemia on the cholesterol content of platelets, on platelet responsiveness and other platelet indices using platelets from 5 groups of age-matched subjects (n = 30 each), which includes healthy controls. All groups except controls had a high plasma lipid profile. While subjects in group I had only hyperlipidemia, those in groups II and III had hyperlipidemia in conjunction with diabetes mellitus and hypertension, respectively. The fourth group consisted of patients with confirmed coronary artery disease (CAD). The parameters studied include packed cell volume of platelets (platelet crit), platelet distribution width (PDW), platelet cholesterol and platelet aggregation in response to adenosine diphosphate and collagen. All the patient groups showed increased platelet aggregation (p < 0.05) and low platelet crit compared with controls (p < 0.05). In addition, platelet cholesterol was increased in patients with coronary disease, hyperlipidemia and diabetes mellitus (p < 0.05) but not in patients with hypertension (p > 0.05); PDW was high only in CAD (p < 0.05). A higher PDW indicated a prothrombotic tendency in CAD patients. Our data suggest that hyperlipidemia increases the lipid content in platelets and enhances their reactivity. Hyperactive platelets with increased platelet cholesterol may contribute to accelerated atherogenesis associated with CAD.
- Platelet indices
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