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Platelet Microparticles Promote Neural Stem Cell Proliferation, Survival and Differentiation

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Platelet microparticles (PMP) are small subcellular fragments, shed upon platelet activation. PMP host a variety of cytokines and growth factor that were previously shown to affect angiogenesis and postischemic tissue regeneration. This study attempted to explore the effect of PMP on neural stem cell (NSC) proliferation, survival and differentiation. Cells were grown as neurospheres and treated with PMP, or relevant growth factors, sphere size and cell fates were evaluated. PMP treatment led to larger neurospheres with increased cell survival. PMP treatment was comparable with the effect of acceptable single growth factors such as fibroblastic growth factor (FGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF). PMP treatment also increased the differentiation potential of NSC to glia and neurons. Specific growth factor inhibitors only partly blocked these effects, which were associated with increments in ERK and Akt phosphorylation. In this study, we show that various growth factors contained within the PMP promote neuronal cell proliferation, survival and differentiation. The results suggest a role for platelet microparticles in augmenting endogenous neural progenitor and stem cells angiogenesis and neurogenesis that might be utilized for treatment following brain injury.

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We thank Dr. Amalia Tabib and Mrs. Yitav Glantz for their assistance with the Western blot analysis and Mrs. Nina Fainstein and Mrs. Mikhal Cohen for their help with tissue cultures.

Sources of Funding

This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport, Israel and by the Peritz and Chantal Sheinberg Cerebrovascular Research Fund. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


All authors hereby declare they have no conflicts to disclose.

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Correspondence to David Varon or Ronen R. Leker.

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Hayon, Y., Dashevsky, O., Shai, E. et al. Platelet Microparticles Promote Neural Stem Cell Proliferation, Survival and Differentiation. J Mol Neurosci 47, 659–665 (2012).

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