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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002 Sep 1;22(9):1381-9.

Platelets and thrombin generation.

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Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7035, USA.


This review examines the evidence that platelets play a major role in localizing and controlling the burst of thrombin generation leading to fibrin clot formation. From the first functional description of platelets, it has been recognized that platelets supply factors that support the activation of prothrombin. Studies have demonstrated that on activation, the amount of one specific lipid, phosphatidylserine, is significantly increased on the outer leaflet of platelet membranes. When it was found that phosphatidylserine containing lipid extracts could be substituted for platelets in clotting assays, this suggested the possibility that changes in platelet lipid composition were necessary and sufficient to account for platelet surface thrombin generation. Because a growing body of data suggest that platelet-binding proteins provide much of the specificity for platelet thrombin generation, we review in this report data suggesting that changes in lipid composition are necessary but not sufficient to account for platelet surface regulation of thrombin generation. Also, we review data suggesting that platelets from different individuals differ in their capacity to generate thrombin, whereas platelets from a single subject support thrombin generation in a reproducible manner. Individual differences in platelet thrombin generation might be accounted for by differences in platelet-binding proteins.

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