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Am J Pathol. 1992 Sep;141(3):707-19.

Platelet morphologic changes and fibrinogen receptor localization. Initial responses in ADP-activated human platelets.

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Department of Pathology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1092.


Platelet exposure to agonists results in rapid morphologic changes paralleled by fibrinogen binding and platelet aggregation. The current study used standardized stereology in conjunction with immunogold electron microscopy to correlate the initial morphologic changes with fibrinogen receptor localization on the surfaces of ADP-activated human platelets. A 45% increase in platelet circumference was observed after 3 seconds of activation (P = 0.001). Virtually all of this increase was due to a 13-fold increase in projection membrane, and the projections observed by stereo microscopy at this time were mostly blunt. Both blunt and long projections also accounted for the increase in platelet-platelet contacts at 10 seconds of activation. Immunogold electron microscopy using the monoclonal antibodies P2 and AP-2 against the fibrinogen receptor, glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GP IIb/IIIa), showed relatively equivalent immunogold densities on projections compared with cell body during 30 seconds of activation. The activation-dependent anti-GP IIb/IIIa monoclonal antibody, 7E3, showed an immunogold density 37% greater on projections compared with cell body (P = 0.0001). Colocalization studies using 7E3 with a polyclonal antifibrinogen antibody showed bound fibrinogen in close proximity to the GP IIb/IIIa localized by 7E3 on projections. These studies support an important role for platelet projections during the earliest stages of fibrinogen binding and ADP-induced aggregation.

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