Expression of the PlA2 allele of glycoprotein IIIa and its impact on platelet function

JRSM Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Nov 3;4:2048004015610252. doi: 10.1177/2048004015610252. eCollection 2015 Jan-Dec.


Background: The platelet fibrinogen receptor represents the final common pathway of platelet activation, and is formed from two glycoprotein (GP) subunits (GPIIb/IIIa). Carriage of the mutant PlA2 allele of GPIIIa has been shown to confer an increased risk of cardiovascular events, but published studies have disagreed as to the mechanism for this association.

Objectives: To assess whether carriage of the PlA2 allele conforms to Mendelian patterns of expression and to identify whether carriage of the mutant allele modulates platelet function.

Methods: Expression of the PlA2 allele was assessed in both healthy subjects (n = 25) and patients with known coronary artery disease (n = 90) through the development and validation of a liquid chromatography, tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) assay. Platelet function was assessed in the patient cohort in response to multiple agonists, and these data were analysed in the context of the proteomic data.

Results: Expression of the wild-type PlA1 allele and mutant PlA2 alleles was readily quantifiable and conformed to Mendelian patterns in both healthy and patient cohorts. Patients who were homozygous for the mutant PlA2 allele had an increased aggregatory response to adenosine diphosphate, collagen, adrenaline, ristocetin, thrombin receptor-activating peptide 6 and U46619, when assessed using agonist-concentration response curves.

Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that carriage of the mutant PlA2 allele mediates an increased risk of cardiovascular events through the modulation of platelet reactivity.

Keywords: Platelets; clinical genetics; mass spectrometry; platelet function testing.