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Am J Hematol. 1996 Apr;51(4):296-301.

Disturbance of plasma and platelet thrombospondin levels in sickle cell disease.

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Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, 55455, USA.


Thrombospondin (TSP), a large protein found in platelet alpha-granules (as TSP-1), mediates adhesion of sickle reticulocytes to cultured vascular endothelium. To further explore the physiologic relevance of this observation, we have measured plasma TSP levels and platelet TSP-1 content in subjects with sickle cell disease. Plasma TSP levels were similar for normal controls (mean 491 ng/ml, range 331-723) and steady-state HbSS patients (mean 536, range 333-1107) and were significantly (P = 0.012) but variably elevated for HbSS patients presenting with acute painful crisis (mean 868, range 442-2780). Some of these elevated plasma TSP levels reached those previously observed to support maximal red cell adhesion to endothelium in vitro. Compared to normals, both steady-state and in-crisis HbSS patients had significantly (P < 0.001) depressed platelet TSP-1 content (82.6 +/- 11.9, 47.1 +/- 16.0 and 45.9 +/- 20.7 ng/l0(6) platelets, respectively, mean +/- SD). HbSC disease patients, all examined during steady state, had low-normal plasma levels of TSP and either normal or depressed platelet TSP-1 content. Serial observations on three sickle cell anemia subjects indicated a probable relationship between platelet TSP-1 release, elevated plasma TSP levels, and acute vaso-occlusive episodes. These results suggest a state of ongoing release and depletion of TSP-1 from activated platelets in patients with sickle cell disease.

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