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J Clin Invest. 1969 Jun;48(6):1073-82.

Heterogeneity of human platelets. I. Metabolic and kinetic evidence suggestive of young and old platelets.


Human platelets have been separated into two extreme density populations by centrifugation in specific density media. A large-heavy platelet population with specific gravity > 1.055 and a light-small population with specific gravity < 1.046 were obtained, each representing approximately 15-20% of the total population volume. The average volume per platelet of the separated large-heavy and light-small platelet populations was 12 and 5 mu(3) respectively. When data are expressed per milliliter platelets or per gram wet weight, the large-heavy platelet population had a 2-fold greater glycogen content, 1.3-fold greater orthophosphate content, 1.3-fold greater total adenine nucleotide content, 4.2-fold greater rate of glycogenolysis, 2.6-fold greater rate of glycolysis, 2.9-fold greater rate of protein synthesis, and 5.7-fold greater rate of glycogen synthesis. Significant differences were not obtained with respect to total lipid content or total lipid synthesis. The large-heavy platelet had a 2.5-fold greater resistance to osmotic shock as measured by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or adenosine diphosphate (ADP) release. These data, as well as diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP(32)) survival curves in rabbits, indicate that large-heavy platelets have a greater metabolic potential and suggest that they may be the young platelets which progress with age to light-small platelets with a diminished metabolic potential.

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