Dabigatran is an oral direct thrombin inhibitor, and rivaroxaban, a factor Xa inhibitor. Dabigatran has been implicated in the etiology of acute coronary syndromes and as these occur following inflammatory changes in the endothelium, we investigated the inflammatory potential of these agents in vitro. In order to do so, polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) were isolated from heparinized venous blood from non-smoking, healthy adults and exposed to dabigatran or rivaroxaban (0.5–10 µM). Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), elastase release, cytosolic Ca2+
fluxes, neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation and cell viability were measured using chemiluminescence, spectrophotometric and flow cytometric procedures respectively. However, with the exception of modest inhibitory effects on elastase release, neither agent at concentrations of up to 10 µM affected these markers of PMNL activation. Although no pro-inflammatory effects of dabigatran nor any difference between the two test agents were detected in vitro, the existence of a pro-inflammatory mechanism involving the generation of thrombin during dabigatran therapy cannot be fully excluded.
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