Background: Autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is widely used for a variety of clinical applications. However, clinical outcome studies have not consistently shown positive effects. The composition of PRP differs based on many factors. An improved understanding of factors influencing the composition of PRP is important for the optimization of PRP use.
Hypothesis: Age and sex influence the PRP composition in healthy patients.
Study design: Controlled laboratory study.
Methods: Blood from 39 healthy patients was collected at a standardized time and processed into leukocyte-poor PRP within 1 hour of collection using the same laboratory centrifuge protocol and frozen for later analysis. Eleven female and 10 male patients were "young" (aged 18-30 years), while 8 male and 10 female patients were "older" (aged 45-60 years). Thawed PRP samples were assessed for cytokine and growth factor levels using a multiplex assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The platelet count and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels were measured. Two-way analysis of variance determined age- and sex-based differences.
Results: Platelet and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations were similar in PRP between the groups ( P = .234). Male patients had higher cytokine and growth factor levels in PRP compared with female patients for inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) (9.83 vs 7.71 pg/mL, respectively; P = .008) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) (131.6 vs 110.5 pg/mL, respectively; P = .048); the anti-inflammatory IL-1 receptor antagonist protein (IRAP) (298.0 vs 218.0 pg/mL, respectively; P < .001); and growth factors such as fibroblast growth factor-basic (FGF-basic) (237.9 vs 194.0 pg/mL, respectively; P = .01), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB) (3296.2 vs 2579.3 pg/mL, respectively; P = .087), and transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1) (118.8 vs 92.8 ng/mL, respectively; P = .002). Age- but not sex-related differences were observed for insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) ( P < .001). Age and sex interaction terms were not significant. While mean differences were significant, there was also substantial intragroup variability.
Conclusion: This study in healthy patients shows differences in the composition of PRP between men and women, with sex being a greater factor than age. There was also proteomic variability within the groups. These data support a personalized approach to PRP treatment and highlight the need for a greater understanding of the relationships between proteomic factors in PRP and clinical outcomes.
Clinical relevance: Variability in the proteomic profile of PRP may affect tissue and clinical responses to treatment. These data suggest that clinical studies should account for the composition of PRP used.
Keywords: cytokines; growth factors; platelet-rich plasma; sex differences.