A rationale for targeting antithrombotic therapy at the vessel wall: improved antithrombotic effect and decreased risk of bleeding.
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Intimal hyperplasia after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or vascular surgical procedures remains a significant problem despite current antithrombotic therapy. The use of the current antithrombotic drugs, namely heparin + chronic aspirin (ASA) +/- oral anticoagulants, is based upon the assumptions that: i) heparin blocks thrombin generation and/or accelerates thrombin inhibition by antithrombin III (ATIII); ii) aspirin acetylates platelet cyclooxygenase, thereby preventing thromboxane A2 (TxA2) synthesis; and iii) oral anticoagulants reduce the availability of vitamin K-dependent procoagulants, thereby reducing the risk of thrombus formation. Albeit beneficial, this approach has a number of shortcomings and limitations: i) when thrombin binds to an injured vessel wall, it becomes resistant to inhibition by heparin/ATIII; thus, surface-bound thrombin remains active, stimulating further thrombus formation, smooth muscle cell proliferation and subsequent hyperplasia; ii) while TxA2 inhibition reduces platelet reactivity, platelets are able to respond to multiple stimuli generated at the time of, or after, vessel wall injury; and iii) heparin, aspirin and the oral anticoagulants all render the patient hemostatically defective and at risk of bleeding. Recent studies suggest that alternate therapeutic approaches can inhibit thrombogenesis more effectively at the time of injury, thereby not only inhibiting hyperplasia more effectively than the currently used drugs, but also reducing (or eliminating) the need for long-term therapy. For example, we suggest that the heparin cofactor II (HCII) catalysts, dermatan sulfate and Intimatan, inhibit surface-bound thrombin more effectively than heparin/ATIII, thereby inhibiting intimal hyperplasia effectively. Their effects are achieved when the drug is given only at the time of injury; i.e. with no further antithrombotic therapy. Other studies indicate that injured vessel wall thrombogenicity can be reduced by pretreatment with Persantine (dipyridamole) or with certain fatty acid supplements which either increase vessel wall cAMP and/or 13HODE synthesis. These increases are associated with decreased vessel wall thrombogenicity, which, in turn, is associated with decreased intimal hyperplasia. Such results suggest that vessel wall repair is achieved more effectively by targeting antithrombotic drugs directly at the vessel wall thrombogenicity per se rather than indirectly by altering the circulating blood cells and systemic coagulant system.
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