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Higher body mass index raises immature platelet count: potential contribution to obesity-related thrombosis

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Butterworth, adam 


Higher body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for thrombosis. Platelets are essential for haemostasis but contribute to thrombosis when activated pathologically. We hypothesised that higher BMI leads to changes in platelet characteristics, thereby increasing thrombotic risk. The effect of BMI on platelet traits (measured by Sysmex) was explored in 33388 UK blood donors (INTERVAL study). Linear regression showed that higher BMI was positively associated with greater plateletcrit (PCT), platelet count (PLT), immature platelet count (IPC) and side fluorescence (SFL, a measure of mRNA content used to derive IPC). Mendelian randomization (MR), applied to estimate a causal effect with BMI proxied by a genetic risk score, provided causal estimates for a positive effect of BMI on both SFL and IPC, but there was little evidence for a causal effect of BMI on PCT or PLT. Follow-up analyses explored the functional relevance of platelet characteristics in a pre-operative cardiac cohort (COPTIC). Linear regression provided observational evidence for a positive association between IPC and agonist-induced whole blood platelet aggregation. Results indicate that higher BMI raises the number of immature platelets, which is associated with greater whole blood platelet aggregation in a cardiac cohort. Higher IPC could therefore contribute to obesity-related thrombosis.



Aggregation, Mendelian randomization, epidemiology, immature platelets, obesity, Blood Platelets, Body Mass Index, Humans, Obesity, Platelet Count, Thrombosis

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Taylor and Francis
Medical Research Council (MR/L003120/1)
British Heart Foundation (None)
British Heart Foundation (RG/18/13/33946)

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