The aim of the present study was to set up and evaluate a novel method for studies of platelet adhesion and activation in blood and platelet suspensions such as platelet concentrate (PC) samples using protein-coated polystyrene beads and flow cytometry. To demonstrate its usefulness, we studied PCs during storage. PCs were prepared by aphaeresis technique (n = 7). Metabolic variables and platelet function was measured on day 1, 5, 7 and 12 of storage. Spontaneous and TRAP-6-induced adhesion to fibrinogen- and collagen-coated beads was analyzed by flow cytometry. P-selectin and phosphatidyl serine (PS) expression was assessed on platelets bound to beads as well as on non-adherent platelets. Platelet adhesion to fibrinogen beads had increased by day 12 and adhesion to collagen beads at day 7 of storage (p < 0.05). TRAP-6 stimulation significantly increased the platelet adhesion to fibrinogen beads (p < 0.05) as well as the P-selectin and PS exposure on platelets bound to beads (p < 0.01) during the first 7 days of storage, but by day 12, significant changes were no longer induced by TRAP-6 stimulation. We demonstrate that our adhesion assay using protein-coated polystyrene beads can be used to assess the adhesion properties of platelets during storage without the addition of red blood cells. Therefore it may offer a useful tool for future studies of platelet adhesive capacity in transfusion medicine and other settings.
Keywords: Adhesion molecules; blood products; platelet glycoproteins; transfusion medicine.