The relation among vessel injury, thrombus formation, and platelet survival in rabbits
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Continuous or repeated injury of rabbit aortae by indwelling vascular catheters caused the deposition of platelets on the injured vessels and the formation of thrombi rich in platelets and fibrin at sites where flow was most disturbed and injury was most extensive. Incorporation of 51Cr platelets into the thrombi reached a maximum between 3 and 24 hr. The platelet-fibrin-rich thrombi remained reactive to circulating platelets for at least 14 days. Continuing reactivity of thrombi and the turnover of platelets in the thrombi were accompanied by an increase in the proportion of platelets that separated in the least dense fraction on Stractan density gradients. Platelet survival was also shortened (43.5 +/- 5.9 hr in animals with catheters, compared with 62.6 +/- 4.5 hr in animals with a sham operation), indicating that some platelets that had taken part in thrombus formation or had interacted with the injured vessel wall were rapidly cleared from the circulation. Platelets from rabbits that had had indwelling aortic catheters in place for 3 or 6 days survived significantly longer than those from animals with a sham operation upon injection of the platelets into normal animals; thus, continuous turnover of platelets on injured vessels and thrombi, and the clearance of altered platelets, leads to a population of younger platelets that survive longer. The continuing reactivity of thrombi may in part account for repeated occlusive episodes in vascular disease. The contribution of thrombin generation and fibrin formation to the platelet-rich thrombi is substantial and warrants the ongoing evaluation of treatment with a combination of anticoagulant and antiplatelet agents in arterial thrombosis and in thrombus formation on vascular catheters.
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