Platelets: versatile effector cells in hemostasis, inflammation, and the immune continuum

Semin Immunopathol. 2012 Jan;34(1):5-30. doi: 10.1007/s00281-011-0286-4. Epub 2011 Aug 6.


Platelets are chief effector cells in hemostasis. In addition, however, their specializations include activities and intercellular interactions that make them key effectors in inflammation and in the continuum of innate and adaptive immunity. This review focuses on the immune features of human platelets and platelets from experimental animals and on interactions between inflammatory, immune, and hemostatic activities of these anucleate but complex and versatile cells. The experimental findings and evidence for physiologic immune functions include previously unrecognized biologic characteristics of platelets and are paralleled by new evidence for unique roles of platelets in inflammatory, immune, and thrombotic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / immunology*
  • Hemostasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Thrombosis / immunology