Upon activation, platelets secrete more than 300 active substances from their intracellular granules. Platelet dense granule components, such as ADP and polyphosphates, contribute to haemostasis and coagulation, but also play a role in cancer metastasis. α-Granules contain multiple cytokines, mitogens, pro- and anti-inflammatory factors and other bioactive molecules that are essential regulators in the complex microenvironment of the growing thrombus but also contribute to a number of disease processes. Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of secretion and the genetic regulation of granule biogenesis still remains incomplete. In this review we summarise our current understanding of the roles of platelet secretion in health and disease, and discuss some of the hypotheses that may explain how platelets may control the release of its many secreted components in a context-specific manner, to allow platelets to play multiple roles in health and disease.
Keywords: Cancer metastasis; Haemostasis; Inflammation; Platelets; SNARE proteins; Secretion; Thrombosis.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.