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      PCSK9 (Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin 9) Enhances Platelet Activation, Thrombosis, and Myocardial Infarct Expansion by Binding to Platelet CD36

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          PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9), mainly secreted by the liver and released into the blood, elevates plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by degrading low-density lipoprotein receptor. Pleiotropic effects of PCSK9 beyond lipid metabolism have been shown. However, the direct effects of PCSK9 on platelet activation and thrombosis, and the underlying mechanisms, as well, still remain unclear.


          We detected the direct effects of PCSK9 on agonist-induced platelet aggregation, dense granule ATP release, integrin αIIbβ3 activation, α-granule release, spreading, and clot retraction. These studies were complemented by in vivo analysis of FeCl 3 -injured mouse mesenteric arteriole thrombosis. We also investigated the underlying mechanisms. Using the myocardial infarction (MI) model, we explored the effects of PCSK9 on microvascular obstruction and infarct expansion post-MI.


          PCSK9 directly enhances agonist-induced platelet aggregation, dense granule ATP release, integrin αIIbβ3 activation, P-selectin release from α-granules, spreading, and clot retraction. In line, PCSK9 enhances in vivo thrombosis in a FeCl 3 -injured mesenteric arteriole thrombosis mouse model, whereas PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab ameliorates its enhancing effects. Mechanism studies revealed that PCSK9 binds to platelet CD36 and thus activates Src kinase and MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)–extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase, increases the generation of reactive oxygen species, and activates the p38MAPK/cytosolic phospholipase A2/cyclooxygenase-1/thromboxane A 2 signaling pathways downstream of CD36 to enhance platelet activation, as well. Using CD36 knockout mice, we showed that the enhancing effects of PCSK9 on platelet activation are CD36 dependent. It is important to note that aspirin consistently abolishes the enhancing effects of PCSK9 on platelet activation and in vivo thrombosis. Last, we showed that PCSK9 activating platelet CD36 aggravates microvascular obstruction and promotes MI expansion post-MI.


          PCSK9 in plasma directly enhances platelet activation and in vivo thrombosis, and MI expansion post-MI, as well, by binding to platelet CD36 and thus activating the downstream signaling pathways. PCSK9 inhibitors or aspirin abolish the enhancing effects of PCSK9, supporting the use of aspirin in patients with high plasma PCSK9 levels in addition to PCSK9 inhibitors to prevent thrombotic complications.

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          Most cited references 1

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          Efficacy and safety of alirocumab and evolocumab: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [published online July 3, 2019].

           Guedeney P (2022)

            Author and article information

            Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
            January 05 2021
            January 05 2021
            : 143
            : 1
            : 45-61
            [1 ]Department of Cardiology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, China (Z.Q., W.Y., D.J., Z.Y., K.Y., A.S., J.Q., J.G.).
            [2 ]Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, China (L.H., Z.D.).
            [3 ]Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (J.Z., L.C., G.P., Z.D.).
            [4 ]Department of Cardiology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (H.Z., X. Luo).
            © 2021


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