Severe obesity and bariatric surgery alter the platelet mRNA profile

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Journal Article

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Bariatric surgery; cardiovascular diseases; obesity; platelet; RNA


© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Mechanisms explaining the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are needed. Despite growing recognition of the importance of the anucleate platelet transcriptome, low levels of RNA in platelets make assessment difficult. We sought to perform unbiased platelet RNA profiling in obesity by performing a prospective study of severe obesity and weight loss via bariatric surgery on platelet characteristics and mRNA profile in 26 pre-menopausal, non-diabetic women (31.6 ± 8.4 years; BMI 43.0 ± 6.5 kg/m2) who underwent sleeve gastrectomy. Totally, 10 women of similar age with normal BMI served as controls. Platelet activation via flow cytometry was assessed before and after surgery. RNA-sequencing (RNAseq) was performed on platelet isolates from a subset of 13 subjects (eight obese women and five normal-BMI subjects). Platelet count, size, and age did not differ between control and obese women. However, platelet surface P-selectin and CD40 were higher in obesity. RNAseq demonstrated 629 differentially abundant transcripts in obesity. Notably, S100A9 and AGER, established markers of cardiovascular risk, were two of the most highly upregulated transcripts (each > 2.5 fold). At 6 months post-operatively, subjects lost 26.1 ± 5.8% body weight and inducible platelet P-selectin expression was reduced. Expression of 170 transcripts was affected by surgery, but only a small fraction (46/629) were genes found altered in obesity. We demonstrate that obesity is associated with an altered platelet transcriptome and increased platelet activation, which is partly attenuated by bariatric surgery. These observations suggest that platelets may contribute to increased cardiovascular risk in obesity through a variety of mechanisms.