The life and death of platelets

Research Updates
 
At the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) 2017 Congress in Berlin, Germany, Professor Shaun Jackson presented his work on ‘Proinflammatory Function of Dying Platelets’.

Ischemic injury to the gut is particularly common in critical illness caused by pathological conditions such as severe sepsis, trauma and transplant rejection. Persisted gut ischemia can lead to the development of systemic inflammation and multiorgan failure. Lung injury is one of the earliest manifestations of this, with respiratory failure a common cause of death in critically ill patients.

“We’ve identified a distinct clotting mechanism that is triggered by the ischaemic conditions that develop in the gut of these critically ill patients,” says Prof Jackson. “Inflammatory changes occurring in the gut produce clots that in turn produce damage in other organs, in particular the lung.”

The mechanism, discovered by Prof Jackson and the Thrombosis Group, involves a distinct process whereby white blood cells form large macro-aggregates, triggered by dying platelets.

“This is exciting because we now have a new handle on how clotting occurs in these instances, which could relate to new methods of preventing or treating these clots,” Prof Jackson says.

White cell aggregate held together by dying platelet remnants that act like glue

The ISTH Congress promotes important scientific discourse and advancement, with thousands of the world’s leading experts on thrombosis, haemostasis and vascular biology coming together to present the most recent advances, exchange the latest science and discuss the newest clinical applications designed to improve patient care.

Video provided courtesy of ISTH

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