Platelet activation using electric pulse stimulation: growth factor profile and clinical implications

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Sep;77(3 Suppl 2):S94-S100. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000322.


Background: Autologous platelet gel therapy using platelet-rich plasma has emerged as a promising alternative for chronic wound healing, hemostasis, and wound infection control. A critical step for this therapeutic approach is platelet activation, typically performed using bovine thrombin (BT) and calcium chloride. However, exposure of humans to BT can stimulate antibody formation, potentially resulting in severe hemorrhagic or thrombotic complications. Electric pulse stimulation using nanosecond PEFs (pulse electric fields) is an alternative, nonbiochemical platelet activation method, thereby avoiding exposure to xenogeneic thrombin and associated risks.

Methods: In this study, we identified specific requirements for a clinically relevant activator instrument by dynamically measuring current, voltage, and electric impedance for platelet-rich plasma samples. From these samples, we investigated the profile of growth factors released from human platelets with electric pulse stimulation versus BT, specifically platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor β, and epidermal growth factor, using commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.

Results: Electric pulse stimulation triggers growth factor release from platelet α-granules at the same or higher level compared with BT.

Conclusion: Electric pulse stimulation is a fast, inexpensive, easy-to-use platelet activation method for autologous platelet gel therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / blood
  • Humans
  • Platelet Activation / drug effects
  • Platelet Activation / physiology*
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / analysis
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma / physiology
  • Thrombin / pharmacology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / blood


  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Thrombin