Update on platelet procoagulant mechanisms in health and in bleeding disorders
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Platelet procoagulant mechanisms are emerging to be complex and important to achieving haemostasis. The mechanisms include the release of procoagulant molecules from platelet storage granules, and strong agonist-induced expression of procoagulant phospholipids on the outer platelet membrane for tenase and prothrombinase assembly. The release of dense granule polyphosphate is important to platelet procoagulant function as it promotes the activation of factors XII, XI and V, inhibits tissue factor pathway inhibitor and fibrinolysis, and strengthens fibrin clots. Platelet procoagulant function also involves the release of partially activated factor V from platelets. Scott syndrome has provided important insights on the mechanisms that regulate procoagulant phospholipids expression on the external platelet membrane, which require strong agonist stimulation that increase cystolic calcium levels, mitochondrial calcium uptake, the loss of flippase function and activation of the transmembrane scramblase protein anoctamin 6. There have been advances in the methods used to directly and indirectly assess platelet procoagulant function in health and disease. Assessments of thrombin generation with platelet rich plasma samples has provided new insights on how platelet procoagulant function is altered in inherited platelet disorders, and how platelets influence the bleeding phenotype of a number of severe coagulation factor deficiencies. Several therapies, including desmopressin and recombinant factor VIIa, improve thrombin generation by platelets. There is growing interest in targeting platelet procoagulant function for therapeutic benefit. This review highlights recent advances in our understanding of platelet-dependent procoagulant mechanisms in health and in bleeding disorders.
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