Background: Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) have an increased risk for thrombosis and bleeding and show a defect in adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-induced platelet aggregation. This risk of thrombosis is further increased in MPN patients bearing the JAK2 V617F mutation. Two ADP receptors, P2Y1 and P2Y12, are present on platelets. Although the pattern of defective ADP-induced platelet aggregation in MPN suggests an abnormality in the P2Y12 pathway, no previous studies have specifically evaluated P2Y12 function in MPN or the relationship between P2Y12 function and the JAK2 V617F mutation. Methods: Forty-one MPN patients were enrolled, including 24 with essential thrombocythemia (ET), 16 with polycythemia vera (PV) and 1 with primary myelofibrosis. Platelet P2Y12 function in MPN was evaluated by flow-cytometric measurement of the phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP). Clinical data were collected by review of medical records. JAK2 V617F mutation was detected by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction. JAK2 V617F allele burden was measured by the pyrosequencing method. Results: In patients with MPN, platelet P2Y12 function determined by VASP platelet reactivity index (PRI) was inversely correlated with platelet and white blood cell (WBC) counts. In subgroup analysis, PRI was inversely correlated with platelet and WBC counts in PV. PRI was also inversely correlated with platelet counts in ET, but the correlation of PRI and WBC counts did not reach statistical significance. Eight of the 41 patients had a history of thrombosis and only 2 had a bleeding history. Neither thrombosis nor bleeding patients were found to have significantly different PRIs. JAK2 V617F mutation data were available in 35 cases. PRI was not different between JAK2 V617F mutation and wild-type patients but PRI had a trend towards an inverse correlation with JAK2 V617F allele burden for patients with mutations. Conclusions: The present study provides the first explicit demonstration of a defect in the P2Y12 pathway in platelets of patients with MPN. Furthermore, platelet P2Y12 function, assayed by VASP, is inversely correlated with platelet and WBC counts in patients with MPN. Platelet P2Y12 function also appears to be inversely correlated with JAK2 V617F allele burden. This compromised P2Y12 function may be a novel mechanism for the bleeding tendency associated with extreme thrombocytosis in MPN.

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