Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover novel functions of platelets

02.09.2013
A new finding could lead to novel treatments to reduce bleeding in trauma and severe infections.

The research, from Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientists Lijun Xia, M.D., Ph.D., Jianxin Fu, M.D., Ph.D., and Brett Herzog, Ph.D., appears in the most recent issue of the journal Nature.

One way the immune system keeps a body healthy is through immune surveillance. Lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, constantly exit the bloodstream and "check in" at the lymph nodes to learn about possible pathogens or abnormal cell growth. The function prepares the immune system to fight infections and dispose of pre-cancerous cells.

For years, scientists have wondered how lymphocytes exit the bloodstream at a large volume without causing bleeding. Xia and his team of researchers found that platelets, which normally stop blood loss by clumping and forming plugs in blood vessel holes after injuries, activate a screening process. And this process allows lymphocytes to exit into lymph nodes without letting red blood cells leave the blood vessel.

"Platelets are the smallest blood cells that work in clotting to heal cuts because they stick to the site of the injury," said Xia, a member of OMRF's Cardiovascular Biology Research Program. "This novel function requires platelets to dump a specific lipid content, but does not need intact platelets because it's not forming a clot. We never knew they could do this before."

Not only are platelets making it possible for lymphocytes to leave the blood vessel, they're doing so by going outside the vessel, themselves—another novel finding, he said.

When scientists interrupted the process by removing a protein called podoplanin, the screening process stopped working, allowing both lymphocytes and red blood cells to escape. The new study reveals a novel function of platelets independent of their hemostatic role. The findings could alter the ways in which doctors use platelets to treat traumatic injuries and serious infections.

Intact platelets that can clot usually only last 5 to 7 days in the blood and cannot be frozen, making storage a problem, Xia said. Since these new functions do not rely on intact platelets, it points to different uses for platelets, perhaps even some that have been frozen. If it works out, the discovery could be useful in stopping widespread internal bleeding caused by explosive traumas or severe infections.

"As the research continues, I think there's a possibility this will lead to new therapeutics that could slow or stop hemorrhaging in trauma and sepsis-related illnesses," Xia said.

The breakthrough has opened several avenues for further research, he said. One will be a better understanding of how platelets go outside the vessels to start the process. They will also be looking to see if platelets perform the same role in letting rapid-attack immune cells called neutrophils out of the bloodstream to fight infections.

"This is a prime example of the important research that the Institutional Development Award program makes possible in states that have historically had low levels of funding from the National Institutes of Health," said NIH grant program official María Teresa Canto, D.D.S., M.S., M.P.H. "Dr. Xia's study sheds light on a process that is key to vascular health as well as to the development of inflammation and associated diseases."

Contributing to the research were scientists Mark Kahn, M.D., of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Shaun Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D., of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California at San Francisco, and OMRF scientists Rodger McEver, M.D., Hong Chen, Ph.D., and Florea Lupu, Ph.D.

Funding for the research was provided by grants No. HL085607 and HL093242 from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, grant No. GM103441 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a part of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association (11SDG7410022).

About OMRF

OMRF is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human diseases. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.

Greg Elwell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.omrf.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>