In vivo platelet activation with in vitro hyperaggregability to arachidonic acid in renal allograft recipients.
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Renal allograft recipients were investigated to determine the extent and possible nature of in vivo platelet activation. In 92 allografted patients stable for more than 4 months' duration, intraplatelet serotonin in circulating platelets was depleted significantly. In a further 16 patients studied serially for 12 to 16 weeks following transplantation, intraplatelet serotonin fell abruptly within 4 days from transplantation to very low levels, and remained thus for 10 weeks, rising toward normal at about 12 weeks. Although some patients showed abrupt falls in intraplatelet serotonin coincident with acute rejection episodes, there was no difference in intraplatelet serotonin in seven patients whose grafts functioned well immediately and remained stable, and seven in whom repeated rejection led to graft loss within 3 months. Thus, these tests of platelet function do not permit diagnosis of rejection or prediction of graft outcome. Plasma platelet factor 4 (PF4) concentrations, in contrast, were normal in most patients during the first 6 weeks after grafting, then rose and remained abnormal up to 13 years following the allograft in the long-term stable graft recipients. This discrepancy suggests a different mode of platelet activation in the first few weeks after grafting from subsequent months. Despite universal depletion of intraplatelet amines and alpha-granule contents only four out of 14 early allograft recipients had an abnormal bleeding time, and platelet aggregation thresholds with adenosine-5'-diphosphate and collagen were not different from controls. However, thresholds for platelet aggregation with arachidonic acid were reduced significantly (P less than 0.01) and thromboxane B2 generation was increased in vitro. There was no correlation between depletion of intraplatelet serotonin and circulating platelet-agglutinating material, but nine of 17 biopsy specimens from rejecting allografts taken during the first 3 months showed extensive glomerular localization of platelet membrane antigens and PF4.
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