[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
BH3 mimetics are a new class of proapo-ptotic anticancer agents that have shown considerable promise in preclinical animal models and early-stage human trials. These agents act by inhibiting the pro-survival function of one or more Bcl-2-related proteins. Agents that inhibit Bcl-x(L) induce rapid platelet death that leads to thrombocytopenia; however, their impact on the function of residual circulating platelets remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that the BH3 mimetics, ABT-737 or ABT-263, induce a time- and dose-dependent decrease in platelet adhesive function that correlates with ectodomain shedding of the major platelet adhesion receptors, glycoprotein Ibα and glycoprotein VI, and functional down-regulation of integrin α(IIb)β(3). Analysis of platelets from mice treated with higher doses of BH3 mimetics revealed the presence of a subpopulation of circulating platelets undergoing cell death that have impaired activation responses to soluble agonists. Functional analysis of platelets by intravital microscopy revealed a time-dependent defect in platelet aggregation at sites of vascular injury that correlated with an increase in tail bleeding time. Overall, these studies demonstrate that Bcl-x(L)-inhibitory BH3 mimetics not only induce thrombocytopenia but also a transient thrombocytopathy that can undermine the hemostatic function of platelets.