Human platelets express Toll-like receptor 3 and respond to poly I:C

Hum Immunol. 2014 Dec;75(12):1244-51. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2014.09.013. Epub 2014 Oct 12.


Platelets functions in hemostasis have been widely studied. Currently, growing evidence shows that platelets have also a role in the immune innate response. Recently, protein expression of Toll-like receptors (TLR's) 2, 4, 7, 8, and 9, and the presence of TLRs 1 and 6 mRNA in human platelets was described. Up to now the functionality of TLR-2, 4 and 9 in human platelets has been demonstrated. Due to the relevance of TLRs functions to PAMPS (pathogen-associated molecular patterns) recognizing, we evaluated the presence of TLR3 in human platelets founding low percentages of platelets expressing surface or intracellular TLR3 protein. The activation with thrombin induced an increase in the percentage of platelets expressing surface TLR3 and higher levels of TLR3 expression in the whole population. Human platelets responded to poly I:C by increasing [Ca(2+)]i, the percentages of cells expressing TLR4 and CD62P, and by releasing CXCL4 and IL-1β in comparison to unstimulated platelets. These results demonstrate that human platelets express TLR3 and are capable of responding to poly I:C, suggesting that these cells might influence the immune innate response when detecting viral dsRNA.

Keywords: Human platelets; Immune innate response; Platelets response; Poly I:C; TLR3 expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • P-Selectin / biosynthesis
  • Platelet Factor 4 / metabolism
  • Poly I-C / immunology*
  • RNA, Viral / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / biosynthesis
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / biosynthesis


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • IL1B protein, human
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • P-Selectin
  • RNA, Viral
  • TLR3 protein, human
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Platelet Factor 4
  • Poly I-C