Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been widely applied in various medical fields including humans and horses. This study aimed to establish an optimal activation method to stably and reproducibly maximize the concentrations of platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) contained in equine PRP. Autologous PRP was prepared from 11 Thoroughbreds. For the activation test, PRP was activated by either a single freeze-thaw cycle (Fr) or adding calcium and autologous serum containing thrombin (Ca). PDGF-BB and TGF-β1 concentrations in Fr, Ca, nonactivated (No), and platelet-poor plasma (PPP) samples were determined using ELISA and compared. For repetitive freeze-thaw test, PRP was subjected to single (Fr1), double (Fr2), triple (Fr3), or quadruple (Fr4) freeze-thaw cycles and the concentrations of both growth factors in samples were compared similarly. The PDGF-BB concentration in Ca was significantly higher than that in other preparations. The TGF-β1 concentrations in Fr and Ca were significantly higher than those in PPP and No, with no significant differences between Fr and Ca. The concentrations of both factors were significantly increased in PRP treated with multiple cycles of freeze-thaw compared with that in PRP treated with a single cycle. No significant differences were noted among Fr2, Fr3, and Fr4. Our findings suggest that activation by adding calcium and autologous serum is optimal for instant use of PRP and that double freeze-thawing is an easier and optimal activation method for cryopreserved PRP.
Keywords: equine platelet-rich plasma; freeze-thawing; platelet activation; platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB); transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1).