Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa, also known as integrin αIIbβ3) is an integrin complex found on platelets. It is a receptor for fibrinogen and von Willebrand factor and aids platelet activation. The complex is formed via calcium-dependent association of gpIIb and gpIIIa, a required step in normal platelet aggregation and endothelial adherence.
Platelet activation by ADP (blocked by clopidogrel) leads to the aforementioned conformational change in platelet gpIIb/IIIa receptors that induces binding to fibrinogen.
The gpIIb/IIIa receptor is a target of several drugs including abciximab, eptifibatide, tirofiban.
IIb/IIIa inhibitors are an alternative for achieving recanalization. The risk of hemorrhage may be low. As part of an escalating protocol that includes pharmacological and mechanical thrombolysis, IIb/IIIa inhibitors may improve clinical outcomes 1).