• sGPVI, a platelet-derived blood biomarker, is predictive of AAA, with high specificity in distinguishing patients with rapidly growing AAA.

  • Blockade of glycoprotein VI in mice with established aneurysms reduces AAA progression and mortality, indicating therapeutic potential.

A common feature in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) is the formation of a nonocclusive intraluminal thrombus (ILT) in regions of aortic dilation. Platelets are known to maintain hemostasis and propagate thrombosis through several redundant activation mechanisms, yet the role of platelet activation in the pathogenesis of AAA associated ILT is still poorly understood. Thus, we sought to investigate how platelet activation impacts the pathogenesis of AAA. Using RNA-sequencing, we identify that the platelet-associated transcripts are significantly enriched in the ILT compared to the adjacent aneurysm wall and healthy control aortas. We found that the platelet specific receptor glycoprotein VI (GPVI) is among the top enriched genes in AAA ILT and is increased on the platelet surface of AAA patients. Examination of a specific indicator of platelet activity, soluble GPVI (sGPVI), in two independent AAA patient cohorts is highly predictive of a AAA diagnosis and associates more strongly with aneurysm growth rate when compared to D-dimer in humans. Finally, intervention with the anti-GPVI antibody (JAQ1) in mice with established aneurysms blunted the progression of AAA in two independent mouse models. In conclusion, we show that levels of sGPVI in humans can predict a diagnosis of AAA and AAA growth rate, which may be critical in the identification of high-risk patients. We also identify GPVI as a novel platelet-specific AAA therapeutic target, with minimal risk of adverse bleeding complications, where none currently exist.

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