Publication Date



Background Female patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) experience increased risk of thromboembolism compared to males, an observation that is reflected by its inclusion in the CHA2DS2VASc score. New onset AF (often associated with tachycardia) also confers upon patients increased thromboembolic risk. The mechanisms underlying this risk are uncertain, but new onset AF is associated with profound impairment of platelet nitric oxide (NO) signalling. Given that cardiovascular responses to catecholamines are gender-dependent, and that the presence of tachycardia in new onset AF may represent a response to catecholaminergic stimulation, we explored the potential impact of gender and tachycardia on platelet aggregation and NO signalling. Methods Interactions were sought in 87 AF patients between the extent of adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-induced platelet aggregation, the anti-aggregatory effects of the NO donor, sodium nitroprusside, gender, and admission heart rate. The potential impact of platelet expression of thioredoxin-interacting protein (Txnip) was also evaluated. Results Analysis of covariance confirmed the presence of physiological antagonism between platelet ADP and NO responses [F (1, 74) = 12.212, P < 0.01], while female sex correlated with impaired NO responses independent of platelet aggregability [F (2, 74) = 8.313, P < 0.01]. Admission heart rate correlated directly with platelet aggregation (r = 0.235, P < 0.05), and inversely with NO response (r = -0.331, P < 0.01). Txnip expression varied neither with gender nor with heart rate. Conclusions These results indicate that gender and heart rate are independent determinants of platelet function. Prospective studies of the putative benefit of reversal of tachycardia on restoration of normal platelet function are therefore a priority.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Included in

Cardiology Commons