The role of platelets in the development of atherosclerosis and obesityrelated prothrombotic state is still under investigation. In this cross-sectional cohort study, we measured the levels of different platelet activation markers and evaluated their relationship with carotid intimamedia thickness (IMT) along with other atherosclerotic risk factors in obese patients with or without atherosclerotic co-morbidities. We enrolled 154 obese patients, including 98 with either hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus or dyslipidaemia, 56 without these co-morbidities and 62 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Platelet P-selectin expression and the number of platelet-derived microparticles (PMPs) were measured by flow cytometry; soluble P-selectin levels were analysed by ELISA and Thr715Pro P-selectin polymorphism was determined by PCR-RFLP. Carotid IMT was examined by ultrasonography. The levels of platelet activation parameters were significantly elevated in all obese subjects with increased carotid IMT compared to healthy controls. There was no effect of Thr715Pro genotype on soluble P-selectin levels in obese individuals contrary to normal subjects. Significant and positive association was revealed between carotid IMT and platelet P-selectin (p<0.0001), soluble P-selectin (p=0.039) and PMP (p=0.0001) levels. After adjusting for multiple variables, independent association was found between soluble P-selectin and fibrinogen (p=0.007), PMP levels and body mass index (p<0.0001) as well as platelet P-selectin and carotid IMT (p=0.012) plus plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (p=0.009). In conclusion, P-selectin and PMP levels showed positive associations with abnormal carotid IMT and other risk factors in obesity suggesting a critical role of enhanced platelet reactivity in atherosclerotic wall alteration.
- Carotid intima-media thickness
- Thr715Pro polymorphism
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