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Thromb Haemost. 2003 Nov;90(5):940-8.

Assessment of platelet activation in several different anticoagulants by the Advia 120 Hematology System, fluorescence flow cytometry, and electron microscopy.

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Centre for Research and Evaluation in Diagnostics, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke, 3001, 12 Avenue Nord, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada J1H 5N4.


In vivo platelet activation results are often confounded by activation induced in vitro during the preparative procedures. We measured ex vivo (basal) and in vitro (thrombin-induced) platelet activation in sodium citrate, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and Citrate Theophylline Dipyridamole Adenosine (CTAD) whole blood specimens. Determinations were made by measurements of platelet density (mean platelet component: MPC concentration) on the Advia 120 Hematology System. The MPC has been previously shown to correlate with a fluorescence flow cytometric method, also determined in this study, using the surface expression of CD62P. Moreover, platelet shape and structure changes in EDTA and CTAD anticoagulated whole blood specimens were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Observations made using the Advia 120 Hematology System platelet density parameter, MPC, in the absence of thrombin were 25.7 +/- 0.9 g/dl, 27.9 +/- 0.9 g/dl and 24.8 +/- 1.2 g/dl in sodium citrate, EDTA and CTAD whole blood specimens, respectively. Addition of thrombin induced a significant change in platelet MPC for sodium citrate (21.9 +/- 1.9 g/dl; p<0.0001) and EDTA (23.2 +/- 0.9 g/dl; p<0.0001) whole blood specimens. In contrast, thrombin had no effect on MPC measured in whole blood taken into CTAD tubes. In vitro fluorescence flow cytometric platelet activation experiments measuring the percentage of platelets expressing anti-CD62P showed increase in sodium citrate specimens from 9.2 +/- 7.0 to 55.5 +/- 23.1 % (p<0.0001) and in EDTA specimens from 1.9 +/- 1.7 to 64.6 +/- 12.4 % (p<0.0001) after addition of thrombin. However, in blood taken into CTAD tubes, there was no significant change. Studies on platelets isolated from whole blood in CTAD showed activation by thrombin indicating that platelets in CTAD, while protected in its presence remained functional upon its removal. When observed by TEM over time, platelets in EDTA appear more activated and contain fewer granules than platelets in CTAD. We conclude that CTAD demonstrates in vitro platelet activation inhibition and may be useful in stabilizing ex vivo platelet activation. The novel platelet activation parameter, MPC, measured by an automated routine hematology system, using customized proprietary software, may be used in conjunction with CTAD, a stabilizing anticoagulant, to measure the ex vivo platelet activation state in whole blood specimens. TEM studies verify shape modifications and simultaneous retention of intracellular granules at early post-venipuncture time periods in CTAD specimens.

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