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Keywords:

  • GPCR;
  • platelets;
  • thrombosis

Abstract

Preclinical Research

Platelets are small anucleated cells produced by bone marrow megakaryocytes that circulate in the blood as sentinels of vascular integrity. They play a pivotal role in the regulation of vascular homeostasis through adhesion to the injured vessel wall, aggregation, propagation of coagulation, and thrombus formation. Furthermore, platelets are also involved in fibrinolysis and the repair of the blood vessel wall, restoring blood flow and vascular integrity. Under pathophysiological conditions such as atherosclerosis, inappropriate platelet aggregation and clot formation can cause vascular occlusions, resulting in myocardial infarctions or stroke that, according to the World Health Organization, represent with more than 10% of worldwide death a major health risk (http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/). Over the last several decades, increasing efforts have been made to elucidate the cellular components, signaling pathways, and risk factors contributing to platelet activation with the main goal of providing a sound basis for the development of antiplatelet drugs and novel therapeutic treatment strategies. The family of seven transmembrane receptors, also designated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), represented by approximately 800 members identified in the human genome represent the largest class of receptors and, hence, the richest source of targets for drug discovery. Here, we here provide an overview of the commonly applied therapies targeting platelet-GPCRs as well as a brief summary of novel approaches.