A dichotomy in platelet activation: Evidence of different functional platelet responses to inflammatory versus haemostatic stimuli

Eleonora Petito, Richard T. Amison, Elisa Piselli, S. Shah, Stefania Momi, Simon C. Pitchford, Paolo Gresele, Clive P. Page

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Introduction Platelets participate in inflammatory disorders through a variety of different functional responses, including chemotaxis, platelet-leukocyte complex formation and facilitation of leukocyte recruitment that are thought to be distinct from platelet aggregation. This may account for why classical anti-platelet drugs have failed to ameliorate inflammatory disorders where platelets are known to participate, suggesting that distinct pathways may control inflammatory and haemostatic functions of platelets. In the present study, we have therefore investigated the effect of different stimuli on several different functions of platelets preferentially involved either in haemostasis or in inflammation. Materials and methods Human platelets were stimulated with either inflammatory (fMLP, histamine, IL-1β, LPS, MDC/CCL22, SDF-1α/CXCL12 and 5-HT) or haemostatic (ADP, collagen, convulxin, epinephrine, TRAP-6 and U46619) stimuli. Aggregation, platelet-leukocyte complex formation, platelet migration and platelet protein phosphorylation were assessed. Results Haemostatic stimuli induced platelet aggregation, whilst inflammatory agonists induced platelet migration. The haemostatic stimuli, except epinephrine, and some of the inflammatory stimuli induced platelet-leukocyte complex formation, even if to a different extent. Furthermore, inflammatory stimuli induced a shorter lasting profile of platelet protein phosphorylation compared with haemostatic stimuli. Conclusions Stimulation of platelets with inflammatory stimuli triggers the activation of non haemostatic functions different from those induced by haemostatic stimuli, supporting the existence of alternative platelet responses depending on the stimulus (haemostatic or inflammatory). A deeper understanding of the biochemical pathways behind these functional differences may lead to the development of novel therapeutic options targeting the inflammatory actions of platelets, without affecting their critical role in haemostasis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThrombosis Research
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2018


  • Chemotaxis
  • Haemostasis
  • Inflammation
  • Leukocytes
  • Platelets
  • Thrombosis


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