Despite fully functional primary hemostasis, platelets of healthy neonates exhibit hypoaggregability and secretion defects, which may be adaptations to specific requirements in this developmental stage. The etiologies for reduced signal transduction vary with the type of agonist. The discovered peculiarities are lower receptor densities, reduced calcium mobilization, and functional impairments of G proteins. Reduced secretion of dense granules has been attributed to lower numbers of granules. Signaling studies with adult platelets have shown a regulating effect of the G12/13 signaling pathway on dense granule secretion via RhoA. We comparatively analyzed secretion profiles using flow cytometry and expression levels of Gq, Gi, and G12/13 using Western blot analysis in platelets from cord blood and adults. Furthermore, we evaluated Rho activation after in vitro platelet stimulation with thrombin using a pulldown assay. We observed a markedly reduced expression of the dense granule marker CD63 on neonatal platelets after thrombin stimulation. Gα12/13 expression was significantly decreased in neonatal platelets and correlated with lower Rho activation after thrombin stimulation. We conclude that lower expression of G12/13 in neonatal platelets results in attenuated activation of Rho and may contribute to reduced secretion of dense granules after exposure to thrombin.
Keywords: GPCRs; RhoA; dense granules; neonatal platelets; platelet secretion.