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 What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>