A strong correlation exists between platelet consumption and platelet hyperactivation in COVID-19 patients. Pilot study of the patient cohort from CCH RAS Hospital (Troitsk).
It is known that in COVID-19, hypercoagulation and sometimes thrombocytopenia are related to disease severity. There is also controversial data on platelet participation in COVID-19 pathology. We aimed to determine the degree of platelet hyperactivation in COVID-19 patients. Whole blood flow cytometry with Annexin-V and lactadherin staining ("PS+ platelets") was utilized. Additionally, a stochastic mathematical model of platelet production and consumption was developed. Here we demonstrated that the percentage of PS+ platelets in COVID-19 patients was twofold that of healthy donors. There was a significant correlation between the amount of PS+ platelets and the percentage of lung damage in patients. No connection was found between platelet senescence and hospital therapy or patients' chronic diseases, except for chronic lung disease. Although no thrombocytopenia was observed in patients, the observed increase in platelet size (FSC-A parameter in flow cytometry) could indicate that platelet age is decreased in patients. The developed computational model of platelet turnover confirms the possibility of intense platelet consumption without noticeable changes in platelet count. We conclude that the observed platelet hyperactivation in COVID-19 could be caused by platelet activation in circulation, leading to platelet consumption without significant thrombocytopenia.