Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover novel functions of platelets

Date:
September 1, 2013
Source:
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Summary:
A new understanding of novel functions of platelets could lead to new treatments to reduce bleeding in trauma and severe infections.

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 Marνa 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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brett H. Herzog, Jianxin Fu, Stephen J. Wilson, Paul R. Hess, Aslihan Sen, J. Michael McDaniel, Yanfang Pan, Minjia Sheng, Tadayuki Yago, Robert Silasi-Mansat, Samuel McGee, Frauke May, Bernhard Nieswandt, Andrew J. Morris, Florea Lupu, Shaun R. Coughlin, Rodger P. McEver, Hong Chen, Mark L. Kahn, Lijun Xia. Podoplanin maintains high endothelial venule integrity by interacting with platelet CLEC-2. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12501

Cite This Page:

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. "Scientists discover novel functions of platelets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154022.htm>.
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. (2013, September 1). Scientists discover novel functions of platelets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154022.htm
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. "Scientists discover novel functions of platelets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154022.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins