Platelet activation in obesity and metabolic syndrome

Authors

  • F. Santilli,

    1. Internal Medicine and Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy
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  • N. Vazzana,

    1. Internal Medicine and Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy
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  • R. Liani,

    1. Internal Medicine and Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy
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  • M. T. Guagnano,

    1. Internal Medicine and Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy
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  • G. Davì

    Corresponding author
    1. Internal Medicine and Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy
      G Davì, Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University Foundation, Via Colle dell'Ara, 66013 Chieti, Italy. E-mail: gdavi@unich.it
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G Davì, Center of Excellence on Aging, ‘G. D'Annunzio’ University Foundation, Via Colle dell'Ara, 66013 Chieti, Italy. E-mail: gdavi@unich.it

Summary

Obesity is associated with increased cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome (MS) identifies substantial additional cardiovascular risk beyond the individual risk factors, and is a powerful predictor of cardiovascular events even regardless of body mass index, thus suggesting a common downstream pathway conferring increased cardiovascular risk. Platelet hyper-reactivity/activation plays a central role to accelerate atherothrombosis and is the result of the interaction among the features clustering in obesity and MS: insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction. Interestingly, the same pathogenic events largely account for the less-than-expected response to antiplatelet agents, namely low-dose aspirin. The proposed explanations for this phenomenon, besides underdosing of drug and/or reduced bioavailability, subsequent to excess of adipose tissue, include enhanced platelet turnover, leading to unacetylated COX-1 and COX-2 in newly formed platelets as a source of aspirin-escaping thromboxane formation; extraplatelet sources of thromboxane, driven by inflammatory triggers; and enhanced lipid peroxidation, activating platelets with a mechanism bypassing COX-1 acetylation or limiting COX-isozyme acetylation by aspirin. This review will address the complex interactions between platelets and the pathogenic events occurring in obesity and MS, trying to translate this body of mechanistic information into a clinically relevant read-out, in order to establish novel strategies in the prevention/treatment of atherothrombosis.

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