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Semin Thromb Hemost. 2004 Oct;30(5):501-11.

Application of flow cytometry to platelet disorders.

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Center for Platelet Function Studies, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Flow cytometry is a powerful and versatile tool that can be used to yield definitive information regarding the phenotypic status of platelets. The method provides a quantitative assessment of the physical and antigenic properties of platelets (e.g., surface expression of receptors, bound ligands, components of granules, or interactions of platelets with other platelets, other blood cells, or components of the plasma coagulation system), thereby facilitating the diagnosis of inherited or acquired platelet disorders (e.g., Bernard-Soulier syndrome, Glanzmann thrombasthenia, storage pool disease), the pathological activation of platelets (e.g., in the setting of acute coronary syndromes, cerebrovascular ischemia, peripheral vascular disease, cardiopulmonary bypass), and changes in the ability of platelets to activate via specific stimuli (e.g., efficacy of antiplatelet therapies). Accordingly, this review summarizes the key technical and methodologic components of flow cytometric analysis of platelets, as well as specific examples of its application to diagnosis and patient care.

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