Platelets adhesion to sites of vascular injury is a key event not only in the prevention of excessive bleeding (hemostasis) but also in the formation of platelet-rich clots (thrombi) in response to atherosclerotic plaque rupture, which is a leading cause of heart attacks and stroke. In the latter case, the development of drugs that prevent platelet-mediated clot formation are often hampered by an inability to predict the extent to which hemostasis may be impaired. Unfortunately, no adequate computational model exists that could potentially aid clinicians in predicting which patients may be at risk for bleeding or acute thrombotic events based on direct cellular and molecular information. Part of the problem may result from an inability to study human platelet thrombus formation in vivo. That said, there is evidence demonstrating that the ability of platelets to initially stick to the injured vessel wall is controlled by the synergistic action of two distinct platelet adhesion receptors: 1) Platelet glycoprotein Ib alpha (GPIb1) that supports platelet translocation due to rapid rates of bond formation and dissociation with surface-immobilized von Willebrand factor (VWF), and 2) the integrin 1221 that supports firm adhesion of platelets to exposed collagen. A third platelet receptor, 1IIb23, binds to plasma fibrinogen and is critical for mediating platelet: platelet interactions that contribute to thrombus growth and stability. In this project, we propose to extend our successful multiscale simulation of platelet hydrodynamics and receptor-mediated aggregation in shear flow to consider the processes of multicellular thrombus initiation, growth, and rupture based on in vitro and in vivo models of platelet adhesion. Importantly, we have access to unique and powerful animal models developed by the Diacovo lab to observe human platelet-mediated thrombus formation under physiologically relevant conditions (i.e. in vivo), which will be used to validate and refine the computational model. Once developed, the multiscale platelet adhesion model will be applied to the prediction of clinical observations of defects in hemostasis such as von Willebrand disease (VWD), the most common inheritable bleeding disorder in humans. The resulting simulation will also provide a rigorous framework for incorporation of additional receptor: ligand interactions required for platelet activation such as GPVI: collagen, P2Y12:ADP, and PAR1:thrombin. This will enable us to apply our model to predicting possible deleterious consequences associated with the administration of antiplatelet drugs used to prevent thrombus formation in patients with diseased blood vessels. The proposed work is organized around three specific aims:
Aim 1 : Development of a multiscale model of platelet adhesion and thrombus initiation, incorporating GPIb1:VWF, 1221:collagen, and 1IIb23:fibrinogen interactions.
Aim 2 : Multiscale modeling of thrombus stability and rupture with embolus formation.
Aim 3 : Prediction of clinical bleeding phenotype based on molecular input parameters from in vitro and in vivo studies.
A predictive model of hemostasis (cessation of blood loss following injury) and thrombosis (pathological occlusion of blood vessels) based on molecular and cellular properties is currently lacking. We propose to develop a multiscale computer simulation that is validated with a unique experimental model in which human platelets can be observed in the realistic in vivo setting of a genetically modified mouse. The simulation will be first applied to the clinical investigation and diagnosis of hereditary bleeding disorders, and in the future will enable phenotype prediction of patients treated with anticoagulants such as aspirin and Plavix.
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