Hyperlipidemia is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Millions of people worldwide display mildly elevated levels of plasma lipids and cholesterol linked to diet and life-style. While the prothrombotic risk of severe hyperlipidemia has been established, the effects of moderate hyperlipidemia are less clear. Here, we studied platelet activation and arterial thrombus formation in Apoe(-/-) and Ldlr(-/-) mice fed a normal chow diet, resulting in mildly increased plasma cholesterol. In blood from both knockout mice, collagen-dependent thrombus and fibrin formation under flow were enhanced. These effects did not increase in severe hyperlipidemic blood from aged mice and upon feeding a high-fat diet (Apoe(-/-) mice). Bone marrow from wild-type or Ldlr(-/-) mice was transplanted into irradiated Ldlr(-/-) recipients. Markedly, thrombus formation was enhanced in blood from chimeric mice, suggesting that the hyperlipidemic environment altered the wild-type platelets, rather than the genetic modification. The platelet proteome revealed high similarity between the three genotypes, without clear indication for a common protein-based gain-of-function. The platelet lipidome revealed an altered lipid profile in mildly hyperlipidemic mice. In conclusion, in Apoe(-/-) and Ldlr(-/-) mice, modest elevation in plasma and platelet cholesterol increased platelet responsiveness in thrombus formation and ensuing fibrin formation, resulting in a prothrombotic phenotype.
- PROCOAGULANT ACTIVITY