We investigated whether, in primary prevention patients with metabolic syndrome, statins affect the platelet protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) thrombin receptor by performing serial measurements of its activity and the antigen expression level by flow cytometry before and during treatment. Recent data from randomized trials of statins are compatible with the possibility of clinically relevant pleiotropic effects. The use of statins is associated with a reduced thrombosis burden and diminished platelet activity, as shown in animal models and in vitro studies. Seventy patients with the metabolic syndrome who were not taking antiplatelet agents were assigned consecutively at starting doses at the discretion of the responsible clinician to 1 of 6 statins (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, or simvastatin) or to a no-statin group for 6 weeks. Platelet expression of intact (SPAN12 antibody) and cleaved (WEDE15) PAR-1 thrombin receptors were assessed by flow cytometry at baseline and at weeks 4 and 6 of treatment. At baseline, no difference was found in receptor expression. However, after 4 weeks of treatment, all statins had significantly inhibited (46% to 55%) the activated epitope of PAR-1 expression. After 6 weeks, inhibition remained, despite a slight rebound (22% to 37%). Also, a delayed pattern of inhibition of the intact PAR-1 receptor epitope was found. In conclusion, all statins inhibited the activity and antigen level of the platelet PAR-1 thrombin receptor, which has a major role in regulating platelet activity and thrombin formation. These observational data offer a plausible mechanism for the recently demonstrated pleiotropic effects of statins that may contribute to early clinical benefit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine