Aspirin increases the bleeding side effects in essential thrombocythemia independent of the cyclooxygenase pathway: Role of the lipoxygenase pathway
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Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is currently recommended as an antithrombotic for patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET) who are at an increased risk of thrombotic events. However, ASA is also associated with an increased risk of bleeding in these patients as compared to the risk of bleeding in other patients treated with ASA. Recent data suggest that while ASA inhibits platelet thromboxane A2 (TxA2) synthesis in all individuals, ASA has little effect or inhibits the lipoxygenase pathway (i.e., 12-hydroxyeicosatetranoic acid or 12-HETE synthesis) in some individuals, and enhances 12-HETE synthesis in others. These differential effects are associated with a pronounced prolongation of the bleeding time vs. no prolongation of the bleeding time, respectively, i.e., in ASA responders and ASA nonresponders, respectively. To determine if the increased risk of ASA-induced bleeding seen in ET patients is associated with an effect on 12-HETE synthesis, we compared the relative effects of ASA on the bleeding time, platelet TxA2 and 12-HETE synthesis, and platelet aggregation and adhesion in ET patients and healthy volunteers. ASA (300 mg, taken orally) prolonged the bleeding time in 82% of the ET patients but only 27% of the healthy volunteers although platelet TxA2 synthesis and ADP- and collagen-induced aggregation were inhibited significantly in both groups. In contrast, platelet 12-HETE synthesis was unchanged and platelet adhesion was decreased in those patients and volunteers whose bleeding times were prolonged by ASA, whereas platelet 12-HETE synthesis was increased significantly and platelet adhesion was unaffected in those patients and volunteers whose bleeding times were not prolonged, and in some cases shortened by ASA. These results confirm previous data that demonstrate that ASA has different effects on platelet 12-HETE synthesis and platelet adhesion in different individuals, i.e., inhibitory or no effect in ASA responders (in whom ASA prolonged bleeding) vs. enhancing effects in ASA nonresponders (in whom ASA did not prolong bleeding). These results also indicate that there is a greater percentage of ASA responders in patients with ET than that seen in the general population, a difference that is associated with an effect of ASA on the lipoxygenase pathway. This may explain the increased bleeding side effects seen in the ET patient population.
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