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PLoS One. 2016 Dec 9;11(12):e0167899. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167899. eCollection 2016.

HbS Binding to GP1bα Activates Platelets in Sickle Cell Disease.

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Disease Biology Laboratory, Regional Centre for Biotechnology, National Capital Region Biotech Science Cluster, Faridabad, India.
Department of Biotechnology, Manipal University, Karnataka, India.
Department of Medicine-Hematology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Intravascular hemolysis increases the risk of thrombosis in hemolytic disorders. Our previous study showed that the binding of adult hemoglobin (HbA) to glycoprotein (GP) 1bα induced the activation of platelets. The elevated plasma Hb or platelet surface bound Hb positively correlated with platelet activation in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Furthermore, this study shows that the sickle Hb [HbS, occurs due to single nucleotide polymorphism at A>T of β-globin gene of Hb and causes sickle cell disease (SCD)] also bound to GP1bα and activated platelets in a concentration-dependent manner. The HbS bound to glycocalicin (extramembranous part of GP1bα) with KD ~ 10.46 ± 3 μM. HbS induced phosphorylation of signaling adapter proteins, such as Lyn, PI3K, Akt and ERK in platelets, and also increased the surface expression of platelet activation markers such as P-selectin (10.7 fold) and PAC1 binding (10.4 fold) in platelet surface in a concentration-dependent manner. HbS also increased the platelet microparticle-generation (4.7 fold) and thrombus-formation (4.3 fold) in a concentration-dependent manner. An elevated level of extracellular Hb in plasma correlated directly with platelet activation markers such as P-selectin (r = 0.7947), PAC1 binding (r = 0.5914) on platelet surface and plasma levels of platelet-derived microparticles (r = 0.7834) in patients with SCD. Our study therefore suggests that the HbS-induced platelet activation may play a crucial role in intravascular clot formation observed in SCD patients characterized by high propensity to vascular occlusion and hypercoagulable states.

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