BACKGROUND: Platelets have a pathophysiologic role in the ischemic microvascular environment of acute coronary syndromes. In comparison with platelet activation in normal healthy conditions, less attention is given to mechanisms of platelet activation in diseased states. Platelet function and mechanisms of activation in ischemic and reactive oxygen species-rich environments may not be the same as in normal healthy conditions. Extracellular regulated protein kinase 5 (ERK5) is a mitogen-activated protein kinase family member activated in hypoxic, reactive oxygen species-rich environments and in response to receptor-signaling mechanisms. Prior studies suggest a protective effect of ERK5 in endothelial and myocardial cells after ischemia. We present evidence that platelets express ERK5 and that platelet ERK5 has an adverse effect on platelet activation via selective receptor-dependent and receptor-independent reactive oxygen species-mediated mechanisms in ischemic myocardium.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Using isolated human platelets and a mouse model of myocardial infarction (MI), we found that platelet ERK5 is activated post-MI and that platelet-specific ERK5(-/-) mice have less platelet activation, reduced MI size, and improved post-MI heart function. Furthermore, the expression of downstream ERK5-regulated proteins is reduced in ERK5(-/-) platelets post-MI.
CONCLUSIONS: ERK5 functions as a platelet activator in ischemic conditions, and platelet ERK5 maintains the expression of some platelet proteins after MI, leading to infarct expansion. This demonstrates that platelet function in normal healthy conditions is different from platelet function in chronic ischemic and inflammatory conditions. Platelet ERK5 may be a target for acute therapeutic intervention in the thrombotic and inflammatory post-MI environment.
- Blood Platelets
- Mice, Inbred C57BL
- Mice, Knockout
- Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7
- Myocardial Infarction
- Platelet Activation
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't