Niacin is a natural pyridine derivative, proven to favorably modulate the blood lipid profile by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and by reducing total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and Lp (a) lipoprotein concentrations. Considering that platelet activity is important in predicting vascular outcomes, and that HDL heavily constitutes platelet cellular membranes, we sought to evaluate the effect of niacin on human platelet activity indices. The blood obtained from 30 aspirin-naïve volunteers was preincubated with escalating concentrations of niacin in vitro. Platelet tests included whole blood and plasma aggregometry, rapid cartridge-based analyser, expression of major surface receptors by flow cytometry, and plasma prostaglandins by ELISA. Preincubation of blood with niacin at 0.3, 1.0 and 3.0 mM resulted in significant inhibition of maximal adenosine diphosphate (ADP)- (p=0.03), and collagen-induced platelet aggregation (p=0.01), and reduced activity by VerifyNow™ (p=0.007) bedside analyser. Surface platelet PAR-1 (MoAb WEDE-15; p=0.04), and vitronectin (CD51/CD61; p=0.02) receptors were up-regulated. Niacin was associated with a two- to three-fold increase of thromboxane B2, prostaglandins D2, and E2. Formation of platelet-monocyte microparticles (CD14+CD151), and expression of PECAM-1 (CD31), thrombospondin (CD36), GP IIb/IIIa (CD41a) antigen, and activity with MoAb PAC-1, GPIb (CD42b), P-selectin (CD62p), LAMP-3 (CD63), LAMP-1 (CD107a), CD40-ligand (CD154), GP37 (CD165), were not affected by niacin, suggesting no effect on prostacyclin release. In conclusion, niacin in vitro affects platelet activity by mildly inhibiting aggregation, and stimulating significant prostaglandin release, with mostly intact major platelet receptor expression. The effect of niacin is unique, differs from other known antiplatelet agents, and suggests potential opportunities for therapeutic combination, particularly in patients with low levels of HDL-C. These preliminary data, while intriguing, require confirmation in subjects receiving orally dosed extended-release niacin in order to determine whether these findings are clinically relevant.
- In vitro
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