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The thrombin receptors PAR1 and PAR4 and their relative role in platelet activation
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Pharmacology . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2009 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many blood cell mechanisms in the human body are working all the time to maintain haemostasis in the blood vessels. Once a wound arises platelets are alerted via different substances to cover the wound and prevent loss of blood. Most of the times these mechanisms do stop the blood, and further heal the wound. During other circumstances the platelet-covering continues to form a thrombus, preventing the blood to flow and instead causes myocardial infarction or stroke. There are several risk factors triggering development of circulatory diseases such as obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, infection and stress.

This thesis describes the interaction between the two platelet thrombin receptors PAR1 and PAR4, together with the interaction of the oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis (with thrombin-like gingipains), and the cross talk with the stress hormone epinephrine and its α2A adrenergic receptor. Until now PAR1 is thought to be the most important thrombin receptor due to its high affinity for thrombin. From a phylogenetical and patophysiological point of view there must be a reason why platelets express two different thrombin receptors. Today PAR4 is considered less important, but this thesis implies that PAR4 plays an important role in platelet signaling and haemostasis.

The results show that bacteria pre-stimulated platelets, followed by epinephrine gives a strong and full aggregation and calcium mobilization, in both aspirinated and non-aspirinated human platelets. The amount of bacteria does not itself, or epinephrine alone give aggregation or calcium mobilization. This mechanism is dependent on both Rgp type gingipain released from P. gingivalis, and PARs in an interaction with the α2A adrenergic receptor.

Further, results reveal that PAR4 interacts and cross talks with the platelet α2A-adrenergic receptor in aspirinated platelets. Neither of the two platelet purinergic P2Y-receptors (P2Y12 and P2Y1) contribute to this action, but the purinergic P2X1 does. In aggregation studies a low dose of PAR4 activating peptide (AP), but not PAR1-AP, followed by epinephrine results in a strong aggregation and in a calcium mobilization. ATP secretion measurements did reveal that ATP was released during epinephrine stimulation, which indicate that ATP and P2X1 have a key role in this event. By blocking P2X1 both aggregation and calcium mobilization were abolished, but not by blocking P2Y12 and P2Y1. Inhibition of PI3-kinase, both epinephrine-induced calcium mobilization and aggregation were significant reduced. In non-aspirinated platelets PAR1 synergizes with the α2A adrenergic receptor and P2X1.

In conclusion, this thesis suggests that PAR4 plays an intriguing and important role in platelets with inactived cyclooxygenase 1.  The results described in this thesis contribute to an increased knowledge of the platelet thrombin receptors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2009. , 43 p.
Linköping Studies in Health Sciences. Thesis, ISSN 1100-6013 ; 104
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-19958ISBN: 978-91-7393-562-3OAI: diva2:233322
2009-09-04, Eken, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-09-18 Created: 2009-08-20 Last updated: 2009-09-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis sensitises human blood platelets to epinephrine
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis sensitises human blood platelets to epinephrine
2008 (English)In: Platelets, ISSN 1369-1635, Vol. 19, no 5, 352-358 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies indicate connections between periodontitis and atherothrombosis, and the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis has been found within atherosclerotic lesions. P. gingivalis-derived proteases, designated gingipains activate human platelets, probably through a "thrombin-like" activity on protease-activated receptors (PARs). However, the potential interplay between P. gingivalis and other physiological platelet activators has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to elucidate consequences and mechanisms in the interaction between P. gingivalis and the stress hormone epinephrine. By measuring changes in light transmission through platelet suspensions, we found that P. gingivalis provoked aggregation, whereas epinephrine alone never had any effect. Intriguingly, pre-treatment of platelets with a low, sub-threshold number of P. gingivalis (i.e. a density that did not directly provoke platelet aggregation) resulted in a marked aggregation response when epinephrine was added. This synergistic action was not inhibited by the cyclooxygenas inhibitor aspirin. Furthermore, fura-2-measurements revealed that epinephrine caused an intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization in P. gingivalis pre-treated platelets, whereas epinephrine alone had no effect. Inhibition of the arg-specific gingipains, but not the lys-specific gingipains, abolished the aggregation and the Ca(2+) response provoked by epinephrine. Similar results were achieved by separate blockage of platelet alpha(2)-adrenergic receptors and PARs. In conclusion, the present study shows that a sub-threshold number of P. gingivalis sensitizes platelets to epinephrine. We suggest that P. gingivalis-derived arg-specific gingipains activates a small number of PARs on the surface of the platelets. This leads to an unexpected Ca(2+) mobilization and a marked aggregation response when epinephrine subsequently binds to the alpha(2)-adrenergic receptor. The present results are consistent with a direct connection between periodontitis and stress, and describe a novel mechanism that may contribute to pathological platelet activation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2008
Atherosclerosis, growth factors, infection, inflammation, lipoproteins
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20725 (URN)10.1080/09537100802056102 (DOI)18791941 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2009-09-18 Created: 2009-09-18 Last updated: 2011-10-14
2. The ATP-gated P2X1 receptor plays a pivotal role in activation of aspirin-treated platelets by thrombin and epinephrine
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The ATP-gated P2X1 receptor plays a pivotal role in activation of aspirin-treated platelets by thrombin and epinephrine
Show others...
2008 (English)In: Journal of Biological Chemistry, ISSN 0021-9258, Vol. 283, no 27, 18493-18504 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human platelets express protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1) and PAR4 but limited data indicate for differences in signal transduction. We studied the involvement of PAR1 and PAR4 in the cross-talk between thrombin and epinephrine. The results show that epinephrine acted via alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptors to provoke aggregation, secretion, and Ca(2+) mobilization in aspirin-treated platelets pre-stimulated with subthreshold concentrations of thrombin. Incubating platelets with antibodies against PAR4 or the PAR4-specific inhibitor pepducin P4pal-i1 abolished the aggregation. Furthermore, platelets pre-exposed to the PAR4-activating peptide AYPGKF, but not to the PAR1-activating peptide SFLLRN, were aggregated by epinephrine, whereas both AYPGKF and SFLLRN synergized with epinephrine in the absence of aspirin. The roles of released ATP and ADP were elucidated by using antagonists of the purinergic receptors P2X(1), P2Y(1), and P2Y(12) (i.e. NF449, MRS2159, MRS2179, and cangrelor). Intriguingly, ATP, but not ADP, was required for the epinephrine/thrombin-induced aggregation. In Western blot analysis, a low concentration of AYPGKF, but not SFLLRN, stimulated phosphorylation of Akt on serine 473. Moreover, the phosphatidyl inositide 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 antagonized the effect of epinephrine combined with thrombin or AYPGKF. Thus, in aspirin-treated platelets, PAR4, but not PAR1, interacts synergistically with alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptors, and the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway is involved in this cross-talk. Furthermore, in PAR4-pretreated platelets, epinephrine caused dense granule secretion, and subsequent signaling from the ATP-gated P2X(1)-receptor and the alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptor induced aggregation. These results suggest a new mechanism that has ATP as a key element and circumvents the action of aspirin on epinephrine-facilitated PAR4-mediated platelet activation.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20726 (URN)10.1074/jbc.M800358200 (DOI)18480058 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2009-09-18 Created: 2009-09-18 Last updated: 2015-03-13Bibliographically approved

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