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J Physiol. 1978 Jul;280:193-212.

Quantification of the morphological reaction of platelets to aggregating agents and of its reversal by aggregation inhibitors.


1. In rabbit citrated platelet-rich plasma, the changes in shape of the platelets produced by adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) were observed by photometric and volumetric techniques and by measurements of platelet images on electron micrographs either directly or with an image analysing computer. This permitted the indirect manifestations of the shape changes to be correlated with the morphological features responsible for them, i.e. transformation of disks to more spherical forms and extrusion of blebs and spikes. 2. Following the addition of ADP, an initial brief peak in the light scattering records was associated with marked but transient irregularities in the surface of the platelets. These effects were absent when the other shape changes were produced by 5-HT. 3. When the optical manifestations of the shape changes induced by ADP were reversed by the addition of antagonists adenosine triphosphate, 2-chloroadenosine or prostaglandin E1, the morphological changes were reversed by a diminution in the number of spikes and the conversion of spherical platelet bodies to a more discoid form. 4. The volume of extracellular plasma trapped between platelets sedimented by centrifugation was proportional to the number of spikes which they extruded. Under all conditions, the volume of the platelets themselves remained remarkably constant at approximately 5 X 10(-9) microliter./platelet. 5. Addition of a calcium chelating agent alone produced a rapid persistent alteration in the optical properties of platelet-rich plasma. The magnitude of this alteration was proportional to chelator concentration but greater in some plasmas than in others. Similar optical effects were produced when the calcium concentration of platelet-rich plasma was increased by adding calcium. The optical effects produced by calcium or its chelators were unusual in that the changes in transmitted and horizontally scattered light were in opposite directions (transmitted light decreased, scattered light increased) whereas, in all other circumstances so far examined, these changes were in the same direction. The chelators caused the formation of spikes on the platelets without appreciably altering their disk shape, which may explain the unusual nature of the optical effects.

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