Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease characterized by proliferative changes in pulmonary arteries. There is growing evidence suggesting that soluble tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (sTWEAK) and P-selectin could be involved in PAH development and progression. Here we investigate whether circulating platelets may be a source of sTWEAK and contribute to diminished availability of sTWEAK and P-selectin in PAH patients.
We have prospectively enrolled two independent study groups of stable patients with confirmed PAH and age matched controls: derivation (10 PAH; 15 controls) and validation (20 PAH; 12 controls). P-selectin and sTWEAK concentrations were measured in platelet-poor plasma and platelet lysate. To avoid procedural bias, in each group we employed different protocols for platelet isolation.
Consistently, both in derivation and validation groups PAH patients presented significantly lower sTWEAK content in platelets than control group with no significant differences in plasma levels. Similarly, patients presented comparable to controls plasma P-selectin concentrations and lower concentration in platelet lysate. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that patients with low platelet sTWEAK/total protein concentration ratio had more frequently detoriation of PAH in the follow-up (16.51 ± 3.32 months), log-rank test, p = .03.
Patients diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension present diminished sTWEAK and P-selectin storage capacity in platelets. Thrombocytes appear to be a major source of sTWEAK that could be released upon local injury and its decreased availability could have an impact on pathophysiology and prognosis in PAH.