The life and death of platelets

 
At the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) 2017 Congress in Berlin, Germany, Professor Shaun Jackson presented his work on ‘Proinflammatory Function of Dying Platelets’.

Ischemic injury to the gut is particularly common in critical illness caused by pathological conditions such as severe sepsis, trauma and transplant rejection. Persisted gut ischemia can lead to the development of systemic inflammation and multiorgan failure. Lung injury is one of the earliest manifestations of this, with respiratory failure a common cause of death in critically ill patients.

“We’ve identified a distinct clotting mechanism that is triggered by the ischaemic conditions that develop in the gut of these critically ill patients,” says Prof Jackson. “Inflammatory changes occurring in the gut produce clots that in turn produce damage in other organs, in particular the lung.”

The mechanism, discovered by Prof Jackson and the Thrombosis Group, involves a distinct process whereby white blood cells form large macro-aggregates, triggered by dying platelets.

“This is exciting because we now have a new handle on how clotting occurs in these instances, which could relate to new methods of preventing or treating these clots,” Prof Jackson says.

White cell aggregate held together by dying platelet remnants that act like glue

The ISTH Congress promotes important scientific discourse and advancement, with thousands of the world’s leading experts on thrombosis, haemostasis and vascular biology coming together to present the most recent advances, exchange the latest science and discuss the newest clinical applications designed to improve patient care.

Previous
Next

Related news

Meet the team: Imala Alwis

Imala Alwis is a senior research officer at the Heart Research Institute, working in the Thrombosis group. He shares his personal story about his connection with heart disease.

"Heart disease has affected me personally. My dad was in his mid fifties when he had triple bypass surgery. He led a very healthy lifestyle and he was only diagnosed during a routine medical check up."

Read more

Research leader recognised internationally for life-saving work

Dr Ben Freedman has been acknowledged at the Heart Rhythm Congress in the UK with an Award for Outstanding Individual who has contributed to Arrhythmia Services 2016. The award comes in recognition of his global push to introduce screening for the common heart condition, atrial fibrillation (AF), which triggers catastrophic strokes, as well as in recognition of his research and publications on AF screening. 

Read more

New drugs will treat cancer and blood clots in one blow

Cancer medication could soon also protect patients from deadly blood clots thanks to a breakthrough by researchers at the HRI. Our scientists have discovered that a protein known to cause cancer is also responsible for life-threatening blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which many people with cancer suffer from. 

Read more