Background: The purinergic system is known to underlie prothrombotic and proinflammatory vascular programs, making the profile of experimental actions demonstrated by abacavir compatible with thrombogenesis. However, direct evidence of a prothrombotic effect by the drug has been lacking.
Methods: The present study appraised the effects of abacavir in a well-validated animal model of arterial thrombosis. The role of ATP-P2X7 receptors in the actions of the drug was also assessed, and the actions of recognized vascular-damaging agents and other nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) were evaluated and compared to those of abacavir.
Results: Abacavir dose-dependently promoted thrombus formation. This effect was reversed by a P2X7-receptor antagonist and was nonexistent in P2X7 knockout mice. The effects of abacavir were similar to those of diclofenac and rofecoxib. Other NRTIs had no thrombosis-related effects.
Conclusion: Abacavir promotes arterial thrombosis through interference with purinergic signaling, suggesting a possible biological mechanism for the clinical association of abacavir with cardiovascular diseases.