Introduction: Platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa is a membrane receptor with a central function in the platelet adhesion and ultimately in the thrombus formation. Two major variants of the gene encoding the IIIa subunit, called PLA1 (A1) and PLA2 (A2), have been identified in the general population. There are indications that the A2 allele can also be associated with acute thrombosis or stroke. The purpose of this study was to study the distribution of the A2 allele in different vascular subtypes of stroke disease. Materials and methods: A total of 638 consecutive patients were analyzed and classified as having large vessel pathology (n=168) or a small vessel infarct (n=210). Localization of the vascular occlusions was deducted from analysis of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan results in stroke patients. The remainder patients were listed into a mixed vascular pathology group (n=167). Patients with other or poorly characterized stroke etiology were excluded from the study (n=93). Results: In the small vessel and mixed vascular pathology groups, the PLA2 allele frequency was similar to that in the controls. By contrast, PLA2 allele frequency was approximately two-fold higher in patients with large vessel pathology (23.3%) than in the stroke-free control subjects (11.7%, p<0.0005). Multivariate logistic regression analysis of data confirmed this association with an odds ratio (OR) of 2.9 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.6-4.9, p<0.0005). Conclusions: These data suggest that the PLA2 allele is more frequent in brain infarcts associated with large-vessel occlusion.
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