Circulating platelets are heterogeneous in size and structure. Whether this translates into differences in platelet function and efficacy of antiplatelet therapy is unclear. Hence, we decided to investigate the activation patterns among different platelet populations differentiated by size, and to compare the inhibitory effects of aspirin in these populations. Circulating platelets from 9 healthy volunteers were separated by size and stratified into the largest and smallest quintiles. Platelets were stimulated with 75 μM arachidonic acid (AA), 10 μM ADP or 25 μM TRAP. Alpha-granule protein secretion and expression (P-selectin, VWF, fibrinogen), surface-protein activation (activated integrin αIIbβ3) were assessed. Platelet thromboxane B2 (TxB2) synthesis following AA stimulation was measured in vitro before and after incubation with 265 μM aspirin. Reticulated (juvenile) platelets were assessed using thiazole orange staining. A greater number of large platelets in the largest quintile were reticulated compared with the smallest quintile (6.1 ± 2.8% vs. 1.2 ± 1.5% respectively, p < 0.001). Larger platelets also synthesized more TxB2 than small platelets both before (1348 ± 276 pg/mL vs. 1023 ± 214 pg/mL, respectively, p = 0.01) and after aspirin (1029 ± 190 pg/mL vs. 851 ± 159 pg/mL, respectively, p = 0.03). After stimulation with each agonist, a greater proportion of large platelets bound fibrinogen, VWF, P-selectin and activated integrin αIIbβ3 than small platelets both in the presence and in the absence of in vitro aspirin. In an in vitro setting, large platelets appear to be more active than small platelets and continue to be more active even after in vitro aspirin. Condensed Abstract: Platelets exhibit heterogeneity in size and structure. Whether this translates into platelet function and efficacy of antiplatelet therapy is unclear. We evaluated platelet functional properties and the effects of aspirin on separated platelet subpopulations in an in vitro setting. Platelets were sorted into the largest and smallest size quintiles using flow cytometry forward scatter. Alpha-granule protein release, dense granule content, surface protein activation and thromboxane synthesis were significantly greater in large platelets compared with small platelets, before and after stimulation with arachidonic acid, ADP and TRAP. Even after incubation with aspirin, large platelets continued to be more active than small platelets. In conclusion, large platelets are more active than small platelets and aspirin fails to eliminate these differential activation properties.
- Von Willebrand factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine