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Clin Sci (Lond). 1994 Jun;86(6):731-9.

Flow cytometric detection of circulating activated platelets and platelet hyper-responsiveness in pre-eclampsia and pregnancy.

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Academic Department of Haematology, Royal Free Hospital, London, U.K.


1. Platelet activation status and response to stimulation with agonists ex vivo were studied by whole blood flow cytometry in 15 women with pre-eclampsia, 20 age- and gestational-age-matched women who completed a normal pregnancy, and 20 age-matched non-pregnant women. 2. Women with proteinuric pre-eclampsia showed evidence of activated, degranulated platelets in the circulation, with increased platelet-bound fibrinogen, increased expression of the lysosomal granule membrane antigen, CD63, and raised plasma levels of beta-thromboglobulin. 3. CD63 expression and beta-thromboglobulin per platelet were also significantly higher in normal pregnant women than in non-pregnant women, but in these subjects fibrinogen binding was normal. 4. There was good correlation for all subjects in degranulation, measured by CD63 antigen expression, and by plasma beta-thromboglobulin levels corrected for platelet count (r = 0.65; P < 0.01). 5. Platelet responsiveness to ADP in vitro showed a heightened degranulation response (CD63 expression) in normal pregnancy compared with the non-pregnant control group, which was increased further in women with non-proteinuric and proteinuric pre-eclampsia. 6. However, this response was not accompanied by an increased binding of fibrinogen to GPIIb-IIIa. Fibrinogen binding in response to 'weak' agonist stimulation, by low concentrations of ADP or, in a subgroup by adrenaline, was in fact lower in the normal pregnant women than in the non-pregnant women. 7. It is postulated that women at risk of developing pre-eclampsia may have hyper-reactive platelets, primed to undergo release by passage through the abnormal placenta.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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