Background: Platelets play a central role in atherothrombosis, which is responsible of major cardiovascular complications in human hypertension. Nitric oxide (NO) inhibits platelet aggregation via the second messenger cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). In essential hypertensives (EHs), we examined the relationship between platelet cGMP and clinical, hemodynamic, humoral variables as well as the responses to aggregating agents. Methods: In untreated EHs (male/female 106/43, age 44.4 1.1 years, smokers yes/no 38/111), blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and stroke volume (SV) (impedance cardiography) were assessed after supine rest and venous blood was sampled for platelet cGMP (radioimmunoassay on acid extracts of washed platelets), plasma cGMP, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), renin activity, aldosterone and platelet aggregation to epinephrine (EPI, 5 νmol/l), and adenosine diphosphate (ADP) (4 νmol/l) (optical aggregometry on platelet-rich plasma (PRP)). Results: Platelet cGMP (7.0 0.3 pmol/10 9 cells, mean s.e.m.) was lower in males and smokers than in their counterparts (P 0.01 for both). Among the variables tested, platelet cGMP was related to number of cigarettes (0.21), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLc) (r = 0.32), aldosterone (r = 0.21), and hemoglobin (0.16); in a multivariate analysis that also included sex, HDLc was the best predictor of platelet cGMP. The aggregating response to EPI (r = 0.28), but not to ADP (r = 0.07, ns), was inversely related to platelet cGMP levels. Conclusions: cGMP in resting platelets of EHs is positively predicted by HDLc and is inversely related to the aggregating response to EPI. It is suggested that a defect of the platelet NO/cGMP system could identify uncomplicated EHs at higher risk of thrombotic events during surges of sympathetic activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine