There is now much evidence from man and animals that platelets play an essential role in the production of atheroma. Pigs suffering from von Willebrand’s disease have a defect in platelet function. In normal pigs atneromatous plaques can be produced in arteries by high cholesterol diet, but if the same diet is fed to pigs with von Willebrand’s disease no atheroma is produced. Platelet dysfunction protects the pigs against atheroma1. Likewise atheroma may be produced in rabbits by high cholesterol diet but they may be protected against it by thrombocytopenia produced in them by injection of antiplatelet antibodies2. If baboons are injected intravenously with homocistine they suffer endothelial damage firstly and later atheromatous lesions in arteries. If the baboons are pre-treated with dipyridam, which reduces platelet reactivity, then the baboons still suffer endothelial damage from homocistine but atheromatous plaques do not develop.3 Although Eskimos are heavy smokers they have a very low incidence of myocardial infarction and atheroma. They also have a long bleeding time and decreased platelet aggregation. The explanation for this probably lies in the large amount of eicosapentaenoic acid in their diet4.
KeywordsAtheromatous Plaque High Cholesterol Diet Platelet Volume Large Platelet Atheromatous Lesion
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