Terminal platelet production is regulated by von Willebrand factor.
INSERM UMR 765, Paris, France.
It is established that proplatelets are formed from mature megakaryocytes (MK) as intermediates before platelet production. Recently, the presence of proplatelets was described in blood incubated in static conditions. We have previously demonstrated that platelet and proplatelet formation is upregulated by MK exposure to high shear rates (1800 s(-1)) on immobilized von Willebrand factor (VWF). The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether VWF is involved in the regulation of terminal platelet production in blood. To this end, Vwf (-/-) mice, a model of severe von Willebrand disease, were used to create a situation in which blood cells circulate in a vascular tree that is completely devoid of VWF. Murine platelets were isolated from Vwf (-/-) and Vwf (+/+) blood, exposed to VWF at 1800 s(-1) in a microfluidic platform, and examined by means of videomicroscopy, as well as fluorescence and activation studies. Proplatelets became visible within 5 minutes, representing 38% of all platelets after 12 minutes and 46% after 28 min. The proportion of proplatelets was 1.8-fold higher in blood from Vwf(-/-) mice than from Vwf(+/+) mice, suggesting a role of VWF in vivo. Fragmentation of these proplatelets into smaller discoid platelets was also observed in real-time. Platelets remained fully activatable by thrombin. Compensation of plasmatic VWF following hydrodynamic gene transfer in Vwf(-/-) mice reduced the percentage of proplatelets to wild-type levels. A thrombocytopenic mouse model was studied in the flow system, 7 days after a single 5-FU injection. Compared to untreated mouse blood, a 2-fold increase in the percentage of proplatelets was detected following exposure to 1800 s(-1) on VWF of samples from mice treated with 5-FU. In conclusion, VWF and shear stress together appear to upregulate proplatelet reorganization and platelet formation. This suggests a new function for VWF in vivo as regulator of bloodstream thrombopoiesis.
Keywords: Vascular Biology, Platelet, Mouse Blood