The contribution of vessel wall-derived tissue factor (TF) to atherothrombosis is well established, whereas the pathophysiological relevance of the blood-borne TF is still a matter of debate, and controversies on the presence of platelet-associated TF still exist. In the past 15 years, several studies have documented the presence of TF in human platelets, the capacity of human platelets to use TF mRNA to make de novo protein synthesis, and the increase in the percentage of TF positive platelets in pathological conditions such as coronary artery disease (CAD). The exposure of vessel wall-derived TF at the site of vascular injury would play its main role in the initiation phase, whereas the blood-borne TF carried by platelets would be involved in the propagation phase of thrombus formation. More recent data indicate that megakaryocytes are committed to release into the bloodstream a well-defined number of TF-carrying platelets, which represents only a fraction of the whole platelet population. These findings are in line with the evidence that platelets are heterogeneous in their functions and only a subset of them is involved in the hemostatic process. In this review we summarize the existing knowledge on platelet associated TF and speculate on its relevance to physiology and to atherothrombosis and CAD.
- coronary artery disease
- tissue factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine