Temporal in vivo platelet labelling in mice reveals age-dependent receptor expression and conservation of specific mRNAs
The proportion of young platelets, also known as newly formed or reticulated, within the overall platelet population has been clinically correlated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Our understanding of this is incomplete, however, because of limitations in the technical approaches available to study platelets of different ages. In this study we have developed and validated an in vivo ′temporal labelling′ approach using injectable fluorescent anti-platelet antibodies to sub-divide platelets
... by age and assess differences in functional and molecular characteristics. With this approach we found that young platelets (<24h old) in comparison to older platelets, respond to stimuli with greater calcium flux and degranulation, and contribute more to the formation of thrombi in vitro and in vivo. Sequential sampling confirmed this altered functionality to be independent of platelet size with no size differences or changes relative to the global population seen at any age. The age associated decrease in thrombotic function was accompanied by significant decreases in the surface expression of GPVI and CD31 (PECAM-1) and an increase in CD9. Platelet mRNA content also decreased with age but at different rates for individual mRNAs indicating apparent conservation of those encoding granule proteins. Our pulse-chase type approach to define circulating platelet age has allowed timely re-examination of commonly held beliefs regarding size and reactivity of young platelets whilst providing novel insights into the temporal regulation of receptor and protein expression. Overall, future application of this validated tool will inform on age-based platelet heterogeneity in physiology and disease.