The Role of Chlamydia pneumoniae-induced Platelet Activation in Cardiovascular Disease In vitro and In vivo studies
Sammanfattning: The common risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as obesity, high cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes and high alcohol intake, only explain approximately 50% of cardiovascular disease events. It is thereby important to identify new mechanisms that can stimulate the process of atherosclerosis. During the past decades, a wide range of investigations have demonstrated connections between infections by the respiratory bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae and atherosclerosis. Earlier studies have focused on the interaction between C. pneumoniae and monocytes/macrophages, T-lymphocytes, smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells, which are present in the atherosclerotic plaque. However, another important player in atherosclerosis and which is also present in the plaques is the platelet. Activation of platelets can stimulate both initiation and progression of atherosclerosis and thrombosis, which is the ultimate endpoint of the disease. The aim of the present thesis was to investigate the capacity of C. pneumoniae to activate platelets and its role in atherosclerosis.The results show that C. pneumoniae at low concentrations binds to platelets and stimulates platelet aggregation, secretion, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and that these effects are mediated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Activation of protein kinase C, nitric oxide synthase and 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX) was required for platelet ROS production, whereas platelet aggregation was dependent on activation of GpIIb/IIIa. Pharmacological studies showed that the C. pneumoniae-induced platelet activation is prevented by inhibitors against 12-LOX, platelet activating factor (PAF) and the purinergic P2Y1 and P2Y12 receptors, but not against cyclooxygenase (COX). These findings were completely opposite to the effects of these inhibitors on collagen-stimulated platelets. We also present data from a clinical study indicating that percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI or balloon dilatation) leads to release of C. pneumoniae into the circulation, which causes platelet activation and LDL oxidation.In conclusion, these data support a role for C. pneumoniae-induced platelet activation in the process of atherosclerosis. Stimulation of platelets by C. pneumoniae leads to release of growth factors and cytokines, oxidation of LDL and platelet aggregation, which are processes that can stimulate both atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Development of novel drugs that prevent C. pneumoniae-platelet interaction by inhibiting 12-LOX and/or PAF, may be important in the future treatment of cardiovascular disease.
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