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J Clin Invest. 1977 Jan;59(1):149-58.

Superoxide production and reducing activity in human platelets.


Human platelets contain the cuprozinc (cytoplasmic) and manganese (mitochondrial) forms of superoxide dismutase. Nevertheless, superoxide radicals were detectable in the surrounding medium of metabolically viable platelet suspensions by using two assay systems: cytochrome c and nitroblue tetrazolium. The quantity of superoxide generated by platelets (5 X 10(5) superoxide radicals/platelet per 10 min) was constant and did not increase after aggregation by agents such as collagen and thrombin. The superoxide-generating system was present in the supernate of both aggregated and resting platelets and therefore was not platelet-bound. Platelet superoxide production was unaffected by prior ingestion of aspirin, indicating that the prostaglandin and thromboxane pathways were not involved. Both resting and aggregated platelets exhibited a reductive capacity toward cytochrome c and nitroblue tetrazolium which was unrelated to superoxide production. Furthermore, the aggregation process always resulted in a marked increase in this reduction. The nonsuperoxide reduction associated with aggregation was found to be membrane bound and to decrease with an apparent first order reaction rate (k1 = 0.067 min-1). In addition, accumulative, time-dependent nonsuperoxide-related cytochrome c reduction was also detected. Since there is no superoxide dismutase in plasma, the presence of superoxide radicals in the surrounding medium of platelets may have in vitro significance for platelet and leukocyte concentration and storage and in vivo significance for hemostasis, coagulation, and thrombosis. The nonsuperoxide-related reducing activities may represent a biochemical basis for platelet-blood vessel interactions, with particular reference to blood vessel integrity.

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