Platelet activation and thrombus formation are crucial events in hemostasis, but also in disease such as venous thrombosis (together with activation of the coagulation cascade via tissue factor) and in atherothrombosis. This research group is devoted to platelet function and coagulation and currently is performing basic and translational research in the following projects:
- Effects of the plant-derived omega-3 FA alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) on platelet function: based on our previous finding that ALA reduces the function of blood platelets (1), we are currently studying its potential therapeutic use in sickle-cell disease (Figure 1) and venous thrombosis (2).
Fig. 1 Blood smear (left) and aorta (right) from a mouse expressing the mutant hemoglobin HbS, cause of sickle-cell disease.
- Prognostic implications of red cell membrane content of omega-3-fatty acids in elderly patients on recurrent thromboembolism and death: Analysis in 1000 Switco-patients, a SNF project.
- Transfusion medicine: platelet bags for transfusion are treated with different pathogen-inactivating systems to reduce the risk of diseases for patients. We are studying the effects of these treatments on platelet function and the underlying cellular mechanisms.
- Effects of cholesterol in platelet function: we are characterizing one of the most important platelet receptor (glycoprotein Ib) with respect to clustering and function in response to membrane cholesterol content.
- Role of Arginase II in platelet function and thrombosis: Arginase II has been implicated in the progression of several cardiovascular diseases and our team is characterizing its role in platelet function and thrombosis.
- Off-target effects of antiplatelet drugs: We are investigating potential off-target effects of P2Y12 receptor antagonists with special emphasis on endothelial dysfunction, thrombosis and stroke (Figure 2).
Fig. 2 Tissue Factor Expression in Human Aortic Endothelial Cells. Treatment with the platelet antagonist ticagrelor reduces expression of the pro-coagulant tissue factor (TF), thereby exhibiting anticoagulant in addition to its antiplatelet effects.
1. Stivala S, Reiner MF, Lohmann C, Luscher TF, Matter CM, Beer JH. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid increases the platelet count in ApoE-/- mice by reducing clearance. Blood 2013.
2. Reiner MF, Martinod K, Stivala S et al. Dietary omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid does not prevent venous thrombosis in mice. Thrombosis and haemostasis 2014.