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Thromb Res. 2011 Sep;128(3):243-50. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2011.04.018. Epub 2011 May 19.

P-selectin ligation induces platelet activation and enhances microaggregate and thrombus formation.

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Montreal Heart Institute and Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Platelet P-selectin is a thrombo-inflammatory molecule involved in platelet activation and aggregation. This may occur via the adhesive function of P-selectin and its potential capacity to trigger intracellular signaling. However, its impact on platelet function remains elusive. This study was therefore designed to investigate the relationship between the signaling potential of platelet P-selectin and its function in platelet physiology.


Human and mouse platelets were freshly isolated from whole blood. Platelet activation was assessed using flow cytometry and western blot analysis, while platelet physiological responses were evaluated through aggregation, microaggregate formation and in a thrombosis model in wild-type and P-selectin-deficient (CD62P(-/-)) mice. Interaction of P-selectin with its high-affinity ligand, a recombinant soluble form of P-Selectin Glycoprotein Ligand-1 (rPSGL-1), enhances platelet activation, adhesion and microaggregate formation. This augmented platelet microaggregates requires an intact cytoskeleton, but occurs independently of platelet α(IIb)β(3). Thrombus formation and microaggregate were both enhanced by rPSGL-1 in wild-type, but not in CD62P(-/-) mice. In addition, CD62P(-/-) mice exhibited thrombosis abnormalities without an α(IIb)β(3) activation defect.


This study demonstrates that the role of platelet P-selectin is not solely adhesive; its binding to PSGL-1 induces platelet activation that enhances platelet aggregation and thrombus formation. Therefore, targeting platelet P-selectin or its ligand PSGL-1 could provide a potential therapeutic approach in the management of thrombotic disorders.

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