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On calcium fluorophore’s impact in platelet signaling studies

Observation of calcium signaling in platelets - blood cells designed to be involved in stopping bleeding and forming blood clots - is an important part of fundamental research in hemostasis. However, such a study is possible only with the use of calcium fluorophores - small molecules that penetrate the platelet membrane due to their hydrophobic -AM part, which is then hydrolyzed by cytosol esterases. In this work, we consider the phenomenon of inhomogeneous loading of calcium fluorophores into platelets.

We used platelets from healthy adult donors loaded with various fluorescent probes (CalBryte590, DiOC6 (3), Fura Red, Fluo-4 and CellTracker Violet BMQC) and immobilized on antibodies to CD31 in parallel plane flow chambers. Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy was used for observations.

We demonstrated that all studied probes are loaded heterogeneously, with 30% platelets being loaded with a probe 2-6 times higher than the population median value. Using the CalBryte590 probe as an example, we have shown that a decrease in the incubation temperature, the addition of Pluronic 127 to the incubation medium, or membrane cholesterol depletion significantly reduces the heterogeneity of the probe distribution in the population. By looking at platelet activation from the surface, we have shown that the probability of experiencing strong activation, as measured by the intensity of calcium oscillations, correlates with the amount of probe in the platelet.

Thus, we conclude that the type of fluorophore used and the conditions of its loading into platelets can significantly affect the results of experiments on the observation of calcium signaling in platelets.

Overall scheme of the assay. First, whole pre-processed blood is perfused through the flow chamber for 2.5 minutes. Then Tyrode's buffer is perfused through the chamber for 5 minutes to wash away unattached cells. Then, depending on the protocol, the microscopy video is recorded for 5-10 minutes.
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#platelets#calcium fluorophores#membrane#fluorescent probes#intracellular signaling

Immune thrombocytopenia: what can the systems biology and systems physiology offer?

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an acquired bleeding disorder of autoimmune pathophysiology. The causes of ITP could be related to other pathology (viral, bacterial, or systemic), or ITP could develop without any apparent reason. While the immune system dysregulation mechanisms in ITP were described, its etiology remains unclear. Moreover, all existing treatment approaches are not specific for ITP, and its action is highly patient- specific. Here we describe recent findings in the origins and development of ITP and discuss novel experimental and theoretical approaches to diagnosing ITP and predicting therapy effects.

Schematic of immune thrombocytopenia mechanisms. The thrombocytopenia in patients could be caused by both T-cells cytotoxicity (CTLs are more active because T-regulatory cells and T-helpers provide dysregulated stimuli) and B-cells antibody production (plasma cells are producing antiplatelet antibodies of IgG and IgM classes; B-regulatory cells provide more activating signals to B-cells to produce antibodies). CTLs specifically attack platelets and induce their apoptosis. Antibodies from plasma cells opsonize platelets. Consecutively, opsonized platelets are eliminated through the spleen. CTLs – cytotoxic T-lymphocytes; Treg – T-regulatory cell; Th – T-helper; Breg – B-regulatory cell; BAFF – B-cell activating factor.
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#autoimmunity#ITP#platelets#acute/chronic ITP#computational modeling#murine models

Platelet functional responses and signalling: the molecular relationship. Part 2: receptors.

Small, non-nuclear cells, platelets, are primarily designed to form aggregates when blood vessels are damaged, stopping bleeding. To perform this function, platelets can implement several functional responses induced by various agonists and coordinated by a complex network of intracellular signaling triggered by a dozen of different receptors. This review, the second in a series, describes the known intracellular signaling pathways induced by platelet receptors in response to canonical and rare agonists. Particular focus will be on interaction points and “synergy” of platelet activation pathways and intermediate or “secondary” activation mediators that transmit a signal to functional manifestations.


Different degrees of the platelet activation in hemostasis. Upon weak stimulation, platelets pass into a weakly activated state, in which there is no clustering of platelet integrins and no significant change in the shape of platelets. This weak activation is reversible, and it corresponds to the state of platelets in the outer layers ("coat") of the thrombus. Upon stronger activation, platelet shape significantly changes. Platelets become irreversibly activated and aggregate. The secretion of platelet granules also occurs. At the maximum degree of activation, platelet mitochondria collapse, and platelets pass into a procoagulant state, exposing phosphatidylserine, which significantly accelerates blood plasma coagulation.
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#platelets#intracellular signaling#physiology

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).

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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.

Computational model of platelet production in the presence of COVID-19 induced thrombosis. A – Detailed scheme of the model (most sensitive reactions are highlighted in red). B – Dependence of the average platelet count (green curve and dots) and platelet size (red curve and dots) from the platelet consumption index in the model. Platelet number and size in the absence of consumption lie in the areas, highlighted by green and red rectangles correspondingly. C – Platelet size distribution in the absence (green bars) and the presence (red bars) of consumption (with consumption index set to 2). Whiskers on all plots represent SD.
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#COVID-19#platelets#coagulation#inflammation#hyperactivation

In vitro models of thrombosis and hemostasis

Abnormalities in hemostatic response are responsible for a large number of life-threatening conditions, however, despite many decades of research, today there are no reliable ways to correct hemostasis without significant risks of thrombosis or bleeding. This situation reflects a poor understanding of the key mechanisms that regulate the hemostatic response. To uncover the principles underlying the regulation of hemostasis, both experimental models and theoretical approaches are actively used. This review focuses on current in vitro models of thrombosis and hemostasis and describes key approaches and tools for studying blood coagulation outside the human/animal body. To reconstruct this process, both microfluidic technologies and approaches based on manufacturing artificial vessels using a variety of hydrogels are actively used. In vitro models of thrombosis traditionally mimic non-penetrating damage to the vessel wall and have been used for more than 30 years to uncover the key processes responsible for the formation of arterial thrombi. Models of in vitro hemostasis have been actively developed only in recent years and are focused ono crucial mechanisms governing the formation of hemostatic plugs - clots that stop bleeding upon a penetrating vascular injury. Modern in vitro models of thrombosis and hemostasis are used not only as tools for fundamental research but are also introduced into clinical practice.

Fabrication of PDMS-based flow chamber: a) A master mold is prepared using photolithography. The relief (typically made of photoresist on a silicon wafer, shown in orange) usually contains several patterns to be imprinted on PDMS; b) The relief form (master mold) is poured with the liquid mixture of PDMS base with curing agent; с-d) A part of polymerized PDMS is then сut and extracted from the mold e) inlet and outlet holes are made and the required tubings are connected. The chamber is attached onto the glass or plastic coverslip (gray) using plasma bonding or vacuum-sealing.
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#hemostasis#platelets#microfluidics#hydrogel#whole blood#in vitro models#thrombosis

STIM1-ORAI1 direct interaction cannot govern store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) in platelets

Store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) plays an important role in platelet function. It is generally assumed that the mechanism of SOCE relies on the direct interaction of STIM1 and ORAI1 proteins with specific STIM1:ORAI1 stoichiometry. However, in platelets, other pathways may take place. Here we aim to investigate the mechanisms of SOCE in platelets. We developed a lattice-based mathematical model that represented STIM1-ORAI1 interactions and applied it to both HEK cells, where SOCE mechanism is well established, and platelets. The model was able to describe STIM1-ORAI1 behavior in HEK cells successfully. We used the same parameters for protein interaction and applied them to platelets. As a result, we demonstrated that the number of STIM1 proteins on ER membrane could not assure the needed stoichiometry to proper SOCE in platelets.

(A) STIM1-ORAI1 interaction for HEK cells. Bound proteins are presented by brown, STIM1 in cluster – green, free proteins - red. (B) STIM1-ORAI1 puncta formation dependance on clustering probability. Dashed lines represent same process for D=0.01 〖μm〗^2/s (C) Typical system state at t=100ms for different clustering probabilities
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#platelets#mathematical modeling#store-operated calcium entry#platelet intracellular signaling

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