Introduction: We have previously demonstrated that, as compared to adults, the platelets of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) neonates are markedly hyporeactive on day 0-1 of life. The purpose of this study was to examine the age dependency of this hyporeactivity.
Materials and methods: On days 0-1, 3-4, and 10-14, peripheral blood was collected from 14 stable ELBW neonates and compared to peripheral blood from normal adults run in parallel. Whole blood flow cytometry was used to examine the activation-dependent increase in platelet surface P-selectin (reflecting degranulation) and platelet surface binding of factor V/Va (reflecting platelet surface procoagulant activity) and decrease in platelet surface glycoprotein (GP) Ib (the von Willebrand factor receptor).
Results: In the physiologic milieu of whole blood, ELBW neonatal platelets on days 0-1 and 3-4 were markedly less reactive than adult platelets. However, by day 10-14, the platelet function of ELBW neonates improved significantly, although not completely to adult levels.
Conclusions: The age-dependent platelet hyporeactivity of ELBW neonates demonstrated in this study may be a contributing factor to the similar age-dependent propensity of ELBW neonates to intraventricular hemorrhage.