Journal of the American Heart Association 2017 05 186(5) pii e005465
Cigarette smoking plays a major role in cardiovascular diseases. The acute effects of cigarette smoking produce central nervous system-mediated activation of the sympathetic nervous system. The overactive sympathetic nervous system stimulates the secretion of serotonin (5-HT) and catecholamine into blood at supraphysiological levels. The correlation between these pathological conditions induced by smoking and the increased risk of thrombosis has not been thoroughly investigated. The goal of our study was to explore cigarette smoking-associated changes in platelet biology mediated by elevated 5-HT and catecholamine levels in blood plasma.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Using blood samples collected from healthy nonsmokers and smokers (15 minutes after smoking), we determined that cigarette smoking increased the plasma 5-HT/catecholamine concentration by several fold and the percent aggregation of platelets 2-fold. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis of proteins eluted from platelet plasma membranes of smokers and nonsmokers demonstrated that GTPase-activating proteins and proteins participating in the actin cytoskeletal network were differentially and significantly elevated in smokers’ platelet membranes compared with those of nonsmokers. Interestingly, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry analyses of the glycans eluted from platelet plasma membranes of the smokers demonstrated that the level and structures of glycans are different from the nonsmokers’ platelet surface glycans. Pharmacological blockade of 5-HT or catecholamine receptors counteracted the 5-HT/catecholamine-mediated aggregation and altered the level and composition of glycan on platelet surfaces.
Based on our findings, we propose that smoking-associated 5-HT/catecholamine signaling accelerates the trafficking dynamics of platelets, and this remodels the surface proteins and glycans and predisposes platelets to hyperactive levels. Smokers’ platelets also had correspondingly higher resting concentrations of intracellular calcium and transglutaminase activity. These findings suggest a link among smoking, platelet 5-HT, catecholamine signaling, and their downstream effectors-including phospholipase C and inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate pathways-resulting in an increased tonic level of platelet activation in smokers.