Under physiological conditions, peripheral arteries release endogenous vascular-protective and anti-thrombotic agents. Endothelial cells actively synthesize vasoactive mediators, which regulate vascular tone and platelet reactivity thus preventing thrombosis. Atherosclerosis disrupts this homeostasis and favours thrombosis by triggering pro-thrombotic responses in the vessels, platelet activation, aggregation as well as vasoconstriction, phenomena that ultimately lead to symptomatic lumen restriction or complete occlusion In the present review, we will discuss the homeostatic role of arterial vessels in releasing vascular-protective agents, such as nitric oxide and prostacyclin, the role of pro- and anti-thrombotic vascular receptors as well as the contribution of circulating platelets and coagulation factors in triggering the pro-thrombotic response(s). We will discuss the pathological consequences of disrupting the protective pathways in the arteries and the pharmacological interventions along these pathways.
- anti-thrombotic mechanisms