Background: Although reduced intracellular levels of magnesium have been described in patients with acute myocardial infarction, its significance as a regulator of thrombosis remains unknown.
Methods and results: To determine whether reduced intracellular levels of magnesium enhance platelet-dependent thrombosis, we evaluated 42 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) by exposing porcine aortic media to their flowing unanticoagulated venous blood for 5 minutes by using an ex vivo perfusion (Badimon) chamber. Baseline analysis demonstrated significant associations between intracellular levels of magnesium, platelet-dependent thrombosis (P =.02), and platelet P-selectin (CD62P) expression (P <.05). Patients were divided into 2 groups: below (n = 22) and above (n = 20) the median intracellular levels of magnesium (1.12 microg/mg protein). There were no significant differences in age, body mass index, serum lipids, fibrinogen, platelet count, or serum magnesium levels between the two groups. Platelet-dependent thrombosis was significantly higher in patients with intracellular levels of magnesium below compared with above median (150 +/- 128 vs 45 +/- 28 microm(2)/mm, P <.004). Neither platelet aggregation nor CD62P expression was significantly different between the two groups.
Conclusions: Platelet-dependent thrombosis was significantly increased in patients with stable CAD with low intracellular levels of magnesium, suggesting a potential role for magnesium supplementation in CAD.