Apoptosis-like events are known to occur in anuclear platelets. Although the mechanisms responsible for these events are still not completely understood, studies suggested that some platelet agonists can activate platelet apoptosis. However, the relative activities of various platelet agonists in inducing apoptosis have not yet been investigated. In the present study we explored this issue, and attempted to identify the correlation between platelet activation and apoptosis. In a platelet aggregation study, there were no significant differences respectively stimulated by arachidonic acid (AA; 100 M), ADP (20 μM), collagen (10 μg/mL), thrombin (0.1 U/mL), U46619 (10 μM), and A23187 (5 μM). In a subsequent study, we fixed these concentrations of agonists to further compare their relative activities in inducing platelet apoptosis. Our results found that thrombin, U46619, and A23187 possess stronger activities than the other agonists in inducing platelet apoptosis (i.e., phosphatidylserine exposure, mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization, eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)2,and caspase activation). On the other hand, AA induced no apoptotic events in platelets. Based on this approach, we demonstrated for the first time that thrombin, U46619, and A23187, but not AA, possess stronger activity in inducing platelet apoptosis. In addition, we also found that platelet activation might not necessarily be associated with the occurrence of platelet apoptosis. The in vivo physiological function of the apoptotic machinery in platelets is not yet clearly understood, and needs to be further investigated in the future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas