Platelets in the Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis
The major function of platelets is to maintain the hemostatic integrity of the blood vessel and to stop bleeding after injury. Platelets show different responses that can be studied separately in vitro, but that are closely linked during hemostasis in vivo: adhesion and shape change, aggregation and secretion. Many diverse substances can activate platelets, and platelets are very sensitive to these agents and react within seconds of exposure to these stimuli. The most important physiological stimuli are von Willebrand factor and collagen, which mediate platelet adhesion; thrombin, which is generated by the coagulation system; prostaglandin endoperoxides, thromboxane, and ADP, which are released from activated platelets; platelet-activating factor, which is liberated from stimulated neutrophils and macrophages, and catecholamines, which are present in the circulation and show high levels after stress and cigarette smoking.
KeywordsNitric Oxide Platelet Aggregation Platelet Activation Foam Cell Platelet Inhibition
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