Cardiovascular effects of platelet-activating factor

Robert E. Goldstein*, Giora Z. Feuerstein, Linda M. Bradley, Joseph J. Stambouly, Francisco R.M. Laurindo, Nancy J. Davenport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Sudden release of platelet-activating factor (PAF) into the circulation can cause hypotension, tachycardia, and circulatory collapse. To further examine this response, we performed detailed studies of cardiovascular function after PAF administration to young domestic pigs and newborn piglets. Our results indicate that circulatory dysfunction after PAF reflects severe constriction of pulmonary resistance vessels and consequent acute right ventricular failure. Although PAF-induced coronary artery constriction and contractile depression may be complicating problems, left ventricular underperfusion and dysfunction after PAF are mainly the result of systemic arterial hypotension and diminished left ventricular filling. The adverse hemodynamic effects of PAF are accompanied by substantial release of thromboxane A2 (TxA2). These effects are mimicked by the TxA2 agonist U-46619 and partially blocked by specific and nonspecific inhibitors of TxA2 synthesis (OKY-046 and indomethacin). Even more potent blockade of PAF action is exerted by the TxA2 receptor blocker, SQ 29,548. Taken together, these findings indicate that severe pulmonary vascular constriction and hemodynamic collapse soon after intravenous PAF are at least partially mediated by PAF-induced TxA2 release. Tachyphylaxis to PAF influence has been observed in studies of leukocyte and platelet function. We hypothesized that tachyphylaxis to PAF might also occur in our studies of constrictor responses in pulmonary vessels. Recently, we have examined the capacity of PAF to produce sustained pulmonary vasoconstriction in openchested, anesthetized newborn piglets. Infusions sufficient to produce 100% increase in mean pulmonary artery pressure after 3 min showed no loss of efficacy when sustained for 30 min. The same was true for infusions of U-46619. Thus, the pulmonary vasoconstrictor influence of PAF or U-46619 is not readily diminished by tachyphylaxis. These findings favor the viewpoint that PAF or TxA2 release during inflammatory processes could have prolonged adverse actions on pulmonary and systemic circulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1256
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes


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