Safety and antithrombotic efficacy of moderate platelet count reduction by thrombopoietin inhibition in primates

Erik I. Tucker, Ulla M. Marzec, Michelle A. Berny, Sawan Hurst, Stuart Bunting, Owen J.T. McCarty, András Gruber, Stephen R. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Most heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots (thrombi) that block the vasculature. Because disease-causing arterial thrombosis depends on blood platelets, platelet inhibitors such as aspirin and clopidogrel effectively decrease the risk of thrombosis; however, they also impair platelet-dependent hemostasis that staunches bleeding from wounds and can therefore produce excessive bleeding. Experimental studies show that a reduction in the number of platelets also inhibits thrombosis, but these treatments also interfere with platelet function. Because normal hemostasis requires that the platelet concentration remain within a physiological range in the circulation, we evaluated whether lowering the number of circulating platelets - but only to a value still within the normal range - by inhibiting platelet formation in the bone marrow inhibits acute thrombogenesis in baboons. We reduced the platelet count with an inhibitor against the megakaryocyte-promoting hormone thrombopoietin and then showed that experimental occlusive thrombogenesis on collagen-coated vascular grafts was reduced, without impairment of primary hemostasis. These results suggest that suppressing platelet production without interfering with the hemostatic function of platelets may offer a safe alternative to current therapies for prevention of stroke and heart attack triggered by blood clotting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37ra45
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number37
StatePublished - Jun 23 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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