Platelet function and fibrinolytic agents: Two sides of a coin?

Kevin P. Callahan, Alex I. Malinin, Paul A. Gurbel, John H. Alexander, Christopher B. Granger, Victor L. Serebruany

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Fibrinolytic therapy is sthe established treatment for the management of patients with ST elevation acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Present fibrinolytic regimens have a number of shortcomings, including the failure to produce early and sustained reperfusion, as well as failure to prevent reocclusion in at least some patients. Platelets play an important role in coronary thrombosis responsible for AMI. The effect of coronary fibrinolysis on platelets has been extensively debated in the literature with evidence of both platelet activation and inhibition. Among fibrinolytic agents, tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is considered to be the mainstay in the treatment of coronary artery disease. The native t-PA molecule has been modified in an attempt to achieve improved lytic characteristics with less risk of bleeding. The result is a group of mutant t-PA variants considered third-generation plasminogen activators. TNK-t-PA is one bioengineered variant of t-PA. Another third-generation plasminogen activator is reteplase (r-PA). Like TNK-t-PA, it is a variant of t-PA that has been developed to establish a more rapid, complete, and stable coronary artery patency, thus promising reduced mortality. Both r-PA and TNK-t-PA are effective when given as bolus therapy. This feature may facilitate more rapid treatment as well as decrease overall costs of treatment. New fibrinolytic regimens include potent antiplatelet agents that may improve sustained reperfusion. This review summarizes the latest and often confusing data on the interaction between fibrinolytic therapy and platelets in certain in vitro, animal and clinical scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 19 2001


  • Alteplase
  • Platelets
  • Reteplase
  • Streptokinase
  • Tenecteplase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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