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Cucurbitacins elicit anti-platelet activity via perturbation of the actin cytoskeleton and integrin function

Cucurbitacins are tetracyclic triterpenoid compounds found in certain plants like cucumber, pumpkins, squash, and melons. Some cucurbitacins, especially B, E, and I, exhibit anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-atherosclerotic activities.

Platelets are critical in hemostasis and preventing blood loss upon injury. Arterial damage triggers platelet activation and thrombosis following the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque resulting in myocardial infarction or stroke. So, drugs that disrupt platelet activation can potentially treat patients with thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases.

Integrin outside-in signaling and cytoskeletal rearrangements are vital for platelet activation and thrombi formation. Integrin adhesions support platelet aggregation via fibrinogen binding to integrin αIIbβ3. Integrin outside-in signaling and cytoskeleton contraction drive clot retraction, stabilizing the thrombus.

Considering that, researchers at the University of Reading (UK)<