The leading cause of death in people with diabetes is cardiovascular disease, with up to 70% of deaths relating to the development of blood clots supplying the heart (heart attack) or brain (ischemic stroke). Diabetic individuals are more prone to develop blood clots, and these clots are more resistant to standard anticlotting therapies.
Our laboratory has discovered a new biomechanical clotting mechanism severely affected by diabetes that is resistant to the beneficial effects of commonly used antithrombotic agents. Studies ongoing in our laboratory aim to identify how high blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) can enhance this new clotting mechanism. To achieve this, we are using biomembrane force probe (‘BFP’) technology, which allows us to study how a single platelet senses mechanical cues at the molecular scale.
Studies in the laboratory are also examining the role chronic oxidative stress plays in amplifying blood clotting in diabetes, and the mechanisms by which oxidative stress may modify platelet receptors to enhance adhesion. These studies may identify novel targets with which to treat thrombosis associated with diabetes.
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2. McFadyen and Jackson, Thromb Haemost. 2013 Nov;110(5):859-67.
3. Maiocchi S et al, Seminars in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 2017, in press.