03 June 2024

Researchers have identified platelets that are generated in ageing bodies and may help explain why blood cells become more prone to clotting with age.

The scientists in California, USA, say the platelets appear to be generated by a “short cut” pathway and are hyperreactive.

They report their investigation of haematopoietic stem cells in the journal Cell.

According to the study, platelets formed through the normal developmental pathway remain “young” and behave like platelets in a young body. In contrast, the newly discovered platelets “skip” intermediate stages of development to becoming megakaryocyte progenitors.

The discoveries have been made in a study of laboratory mice. The researchers say that hyperreactive secondary platelets first appear in mid-life and become more abundant with age.

The researchers, based at the University of California Santa Cruz, say the next steps include testing how these newly identified platelets respond to existing blood thinners.

Study leader Professor Camilla Forsberg, professor of biomechanical engineering, said: “The question for decades and decades has been: why are ageing people at such high risk for excessive blood clotting, stroke, and cardiovascular disease? We have this discovery of a whole new pathway that progressively appears with ageing — troublemakers! That was never part of the discussion.”

Lead author Dr Donna Poscablo said: “From our expertise, we can ask the questions of how to target the haematopoietic stem cell and now the megakaryocyte progenitor, which has never really been highlighted before as a place to target.”


Poscablo DM, Worthington AK, Smith-Berdan S, Rommel MGE, Manso BA, Adili R, Mok L, Reggiardo RE, Cool T, Mogharrab R, Myers J, Dahmen S, Medina P, Beaudin AE, Boyer SW, Holinstat M, Jonsson VD, Forsberg EC. (2024) “An age-progressive platelet differentiation path from hematopoietic stem cells causes exacerbated thrombosis.” Cell, 14 May 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2024.04.018

Link: https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(24)00413-6


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