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Chem Phys Lipids. 2003 Jan;122(1-2):41-52.

Stabilization of membranes in human platelets freeze-dried with trehalose.

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Center for Biostabilization, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Human blood platelets are normally stored in blood banks for 3-5 days, after which they are discarded. We have launched an effort at developing means for preserving the platelets for long term storage. In previous studies we have shown that trehalose can be used to preserve biological membranes and proteins during drying and have provided evidence concerning the mechanism. A myth has grown up about special properties of trehalose, which we discuss here and clarify some of what is fact and what is misconception. We have found a simple way of introducing this sugar into the cytoplasm of platelets and have successfully freeze-dried the trehalose-loaded platelets, with very promising results. We present evidence that membrane microdomains are maintained intact in the platelets freeze-dried with trehalose. Finally, we propose a possible mechanism by which the microdomains are preserved.

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