Platelets and circulating CD34-positive cells have been reported to contribute to vascular repair (endothelial repair and developing atherosclerosis). And because hypertension is known to be a strong vascular impairment factors, it should also influence the respective numbers of these factors. To clarify the clinical importance of platelets on vascular repair, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 567 Japanese men aged 60-69 who underwent an annual health check-up between 2013 and 2015. Multiple linear regression analysis of non-hypertensive subjects adjusting for classical cardiovascular risk factors showed that although platelet count did not significantly correlate with carotid intima media thickness (β = -0.05, p = 0.356), it did positively correlate significantly with the natural log of the number of circulating CD34-positive cells (β = 0.26, p < 0.001). In hypertensive subjects, a significant positive correlation was seen between platelets and intima media thickness (β = 0.19, p = 0.008), whereas no significant correlation was seen between platelet count and the natural log of the number of circulating CD34-positive cells (β = 0.11, p = 0.119). Our results indicate that platelet count is an indicator of vascular repair activity (endothelial repair and developing atherosclerosis). Additionally, hypertension might mask the beneficial effects of circulating CD34-positive cells.
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