Proteomics of apheresis platelet supernatants during routine storage: Gender-related differences

J Proteomics. 2015 Jan 1;112:190-209. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2014.08.016. Epub 2014 Sep 6.


Proteomics has identified potential pathways involved in platelet storage lesions, which correlate with untoward effects in the recipient, including febrile non-haemolytic reactions. We hypothesize that an additional pathway involves protein mediators that accumulate in the platelet supernatants during routine storage in a donor gender-specific fashion. Apheresis platelet concentrates were collected from 5 healthy males and 5 females and routinely stored. The 14 most abundant plasma proteins were removed and the supernatant proteins from days 1 and 5 were analyzed via 1D-SDS-PAGE/nanoLC-MS/MS, before label-free quantitative proteomics analyses. Findings from a subset of 18 proteins were validated via LC-SRM analyses against stable isotope labeled standards. A total of 503 distinct proteins were detected in the platelet supernatants from the 4 sample groups: female or male donor platelets, either at storage day 1 or 5. Proteomics suggested a storage and gender-dependent impairment of blood coagulation mediators, pro-inflammatory complement components and cytokines, energy and redox metabolic enzymes. The supernatants from female donors demonstrated increased deregulation of structural proteins, extracellular matrix proteins and focal adhesion proteins, possibly indicating storage-dependent platelet activation. Routine storage of platelet concentrates induces changes in the supernatant proteome, which may have effects on the transfused patient, some of which are related to donor gender.

Biological significance: The rationale behind this study is that protein components in platelet releasates have been increasingly observed to play a key role in adverse events and impaired homeostasis in transfused recipients. In this view, proteomics has recently emerged as a functional tool to address the issue of protein composition of platelet releasates from buffy coat-derived platelet concentrates in the blood bank. Despite early encouraging studies on buffy coat-derived platelet concentrates, platelet releasates from apheresis platelets have not been hitherto addressed by means of extensive proteomics technologies. Indeed, apheresis platelets are resuspended in donors' plasma, which hampers detection of less abundant proteins, owing to the overwhelming abundance of albumin (and a handful of other proteins), and the dynamic range of protein concentrations of plasma proteins. In order to cope with these issues, we hereby performed an immuno-affinity column-based depletion of the 14 most abundant plasma proteins. Samples were thus assayed via GeLC-MS, a workflow that allowed us to cover an unprecedented portion of the platelet supernatant proteome, in comparison to previous transfusion medicine-oriented studies in the literature. Finally, we hereby address the issue of biological variability, by considering the donor gender as a key factor influencing the composition of apheresis platelet supernatants. As a result, we could conclude that platelet supernatants from male and female donors are not only different in the first place, but they also store differently. This conclusion has been so far only suggested by classic transfusion medicine studies, but has been hitherto unsupported by actual biochemistry/proteomics investigations. In our opinion, the main strengths of this study are related to the analytical workflow (immunodepletion and GeLC-MS) and proteome coverage, the translational validity of the results (from a transfusion medicine standpoint) and the biological conclusion about the intrinsic (and storage-dependent) gender-related differences of platelet supernatants.

Keywords: Donor; Human; Label-free quantitation; Mass spectrometry; Proteomics; Transfusion medicine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / cytology
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Blood Preservation*
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plateletpheresis*
  • Proteomics*
  • Sex Characteristics*


  • Blood Proteins