The paradigm of platelets as mere mediators of hemostasis has long since been replaced by a dual role: hemostasis and inflammation. Now recognized as key players in innate and adaptive immune responses, platelets have the capacity to interact with almost all known immune cells. These platelet-immune cell interactions represent a hallmark of immunity, as they can potently enhance immune cell functions and, in some cases, even constitute a prerequisite for host defense mechanisms such as NETosis. In addition, recent studies have revealed a new role for platelets in immunity: They are ubiquitous sentinels and rapid first-line immune responders, as platelet-pathogen interactions within the vasculature appear to precede all other host defense mechanisms. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of platelets as inflammatory cells, and provide an exemplary review of their role in acute inflammation.
Keywords: cell adhesion molecules; disease; immunity; inflammation; platelets.
© 2014 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.