Are functional and genetic components of platelets linked to coronary artery disease: A case-control study

Jennifer Jean Wood, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a multifactorial disease process involving behavioral, inflammatory, clinical, thrombotic, and genetic components. Previous epidemiologic studies focused on identifying behavioral and demographic risk factors of CAD, but none focused on platelets. Current platelet literature lacks the known effects of platelet function and platelet receptor polymorphisms on CAD. This case-control analysis addressed these issues by analyzing data collected for a previous study. Cases were individuals who had undergone CABG and thus had been diagnosed with CAD, while the controls were volunteers presumed to be CAD free. The platelet function variables analyzed included fibrinogen Von Willebrand Factor activity (VWF), shear-induced platelet aggregation (SIPA), sCD40L, and mean platelet volume; and the platelet polymorphisms studied included PIA, α2 807, Ko, Kozak, and VNTR. Univariate analysis found fibrinogen, VWF, SIPA, and PIA to be independent risk factors of CAD. Logistic regression was used to build a predictive model for CAD using the platelet function and platelet polymorphism data adjusted for age, sex, race, and current smoking status. A model containing only platelet polymorphisms and their respective receptor densities, found polymorphisms within GPIbα to be associated with CAD, yielding an 86% (95% C.I. 0.97–3.55) increased risk with the presence of at least 1 polymorphism in Ko, Kozak, or VNTR. Another model included both platelet function and platelet polymorphism data. Fibrinogen, the receptor density of GPIbα, and the polymorphism in GPIa-IIa (α2 807) were all associated with CAD with odds ratios of 1.10, 1.04, and 2.30 for fibrinogen (10mg/dl increase), GPIbα receptors (1 MFI increase), and GPIa-IIa, respectively. In addition, risk estimates and 99% confidence intervals adjusted for race were calculated to determine if the presence of a platelet receptor polymorphism was associated with CAD. The results were as follows: PIA (1.64, 0.74–3.65); α2 807 (1.35, 0.77–2.37); Ko (1.71, 0.70–4.16); Kozak (1.17, 0.54–2.52); and VNTR (1.24, 0.52–2.91). Although not statistically significant, all platelet polymorphisms were associated with an increased risk for CAD. These exploratory findings indicate that platelets do appear to have a role in atherosclerosis and that anti-platelet drugs targeting GPI-IIa and GPIbα may be better treatment candidates for individuals with CAD.

Subject Area

Public health|Genetics|Biostatistics

Recommended Citation

Wood, Jennifer Jean, "Are functional and genetic components of platelets linked to coronary artery disease: A case-control study" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3143619.