The Role of Membrane Glycoproteins in Platelet Formation, Circulation, and Senescence

Review and Hypotheses
  • James N. George


Circulating blood platelets are required to form an immediate hemostatic plug at the site of a vascular endothelial gap. The properties of the platelet membrane glycoproteins related to the specific functions of adhesion and aggregation during this hemostatic reaction have been the focus of the preceding chapters of this book. This chapter will review current knowledge and hypotheses on the broader and less defined phenomena of platelet production from megakaryocytes and their appearance in the circulation, their lifespan and senescence, and finally their ultimate removal from the circulation. Each of these events seems to involve membrane contact phenomena that are unique to the platelet: (1) within the bone marrow the megakaryocyte occupies a special position adjacent to the sinusoidal wall; (2) platelets are released from fragmenting megakaryocyte cytoplasm either within the marrow sinuses or later within the pulmonary capillaries; (3) circulating platelets undergo reversible adhesion encounters during their lifespan, losing fragments of their surface membrane in the process; and (4) finally an unknown senescent change on the surface membrane signals the ultimate sequestration of the platelet. This entire process may be viewed as a sequence of reversible contact interactions among platelets as well as between platelets and the vessel wall resulting in surface glycoprotein changes and membrane fragmentation.


Membrane Glycoprotein Platelet Membrane Rabbit Platelet Platelet Size Platelet Release 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • James N. George
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hematology, Department of MedicineUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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