Platelet activation and aggregation is an integral component of the pathophysiology that leads to thrombotic and ischemic diseases such as cerebral stroke, peripheral vascular disease and myocardial infarction. Anti-platelet agents (such as aspirin, ADP receptor antagonists, and GPIIb/IIIa antagonists), phosphodiesterase inhibitors and anti-coagulants are major part of the current treatment towards treating ischemic diseases. However, their limited efficacy in the setting of arterial thrombosis, unfavorable side effect profile and costto- benefit issues substantiate the need for the development of newer and more efficacious antithrombotic drugs. Various platelet agonists like adenosine diphosphate (ADP), thrombin and thromboxane A2 (TXA2) activate platelets by acting via their respective surface receptors, which couple to one or more distinct G-proteins belonging to either the Gi, Gq, G12/13 or Gs families. Upon activation, each of these G-proteins trigger a series of intracellular signaling cascades, causing the platelets to undergo shape change, secrete their granular contents, generate positive feedback mediators and form stable platelet aggregates. In addition, various G-protein-mediated signaling cascades act in synergy with one another to amplify the magnitude of the platelet responses. The significance of G-proteins as key mediators of the platelet function and normal hemostasis is further corroborated by extensive gene knockout studies. In this review we will limit our discussion to understanding the role of G-proteins in the process of platelet activation and discuss some of the anti-thrombotic drugs that mediate their beneficial effects by interfering with or preventing the initiation of the G-protein signaling pathway.
Keywords: GTP, diacylglycerol (DAG), Protease Activated Receptors (PARs), Thromboxane-Prostanoid (TP) Receptor, Anti-Thrombotic Agents