Ticagrelor inverse agonist activity at the P2Y12 receptor is non-reversible versus its endogenous agonist adenosine 5´-diphosphate

Jawad Khalil, Tudor Dimofte, Timothy Roberts, Michael Keith, Kumuthu Amaradasa, Matthew S Hindle, Sukhinder Bancroft, James L Hutchinson, Khalid Naseem, Thomas Johnson, Stuart J Mundell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Ticagrelor is labelled as a reversible, direct-acting platelet P2Y 12 receptor (P2Y 12 R) antagonist that is indicated clinically for the prevention of thrombotic events in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). As with many antiplatelet drugs, ticagrelor therapy increases bleeding risk in patients, which may require platelet transfusion in emergency situations. The aim of this study was to further examine the reversibility of ticagrelor at the P2Y 12 R.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Studies were performed in human platelets, with P2Y 12 R-stimulated GTPase activity and platelet aggregation assessed. Cell-based bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) assays were undertaken to assess G protein-subunit activation downstream of P2Y 12 R activation.

KEY RESULTS: Initial studies revealed that a range of P2Y 12 R ligands, including ticagrelor, displayed inverse agonist activity at P2Y 12 R. Only ticagrelor was resistant to washout and, in human platelet and cell-based assays, washing failed to reverse ticagrelor-dependent inhibition of ADP-stimulated P2Y 12 R function. The P2Y 12 R agonist 2MeSADP, which was also resistant to washout, was able to effectively compete with ticagrelor. In silico docking revealed that ticagrelor and 2MeSADP penetrated more deeply into the orthosteric binding pocket of the P2Y 12 R than other P2Y 12 R ligands.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Ticagrelor binding to P2Y 12 R is prolonged and more akin to that of an irreversible antagonist, especially versus the endogenous P2Y 12 R agonist ADP. This study highlights the potential clinical need for novel ticagrelor reversal strategies in patients with spontaneous major bleeding, and for bleeding associated with urgent invasive procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The following grants supported work performed in this study: British Heart Foundation Project Grants PG/17/62/33190 (supporting J.K.) and PG/20/1/34617 (supporting J.L.H.) and the British Pharmacological Society AJ Clark Studentship (supporting M.K.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society.


  • Humans
  • Ticagrelor/pharmacology
  • Diphosphates/metabolism
  • Adenosine/pharmacology
  • Drug Inverse Agonism
  • Purinergic P2Y Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors/pharmacology
  • Adenosine Diphosphate/pharmacology
  • Blood Platelets
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome/drug therapy
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y12/metabolism


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