Dietary α-linolenic acid increases the platelet count in ApoE-/- mice by reducing clearance.

Blood. 2013 Aug 8;122(6):1026-33. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-02-484741. Epub 2013 Jun 25.

Dietary α-linolenic acid increases the platelet count in ApoE-/- mice by reducing clearance.

Stivala SReiner MFLohmann CLüscher TFMatter CMBeer JH.


Laboratory for Platelet Research, Cardiovascular Research, Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich, Switzerland;


Previously we reported that dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) reduces atherogenesis and inhibits arterial thrombosis. Here, we analyze the substantial increase in platelet count induced by ALA and the mechanisms of reduced platelet clearance. Eight-week-old male apolipoprotein E knockout (ApoE(-/-)) mice were fed a 0.21g% cholesterol diet complemented by either a high- (7.3g%) or low-ALA (0.03g%) content. Platelet counts doubled after 16 weeks of ALA feeding, whereas the bleeding time remained similar. Plasma glycocalicin and glycocalicin index were reduced, while reticulated platelets, thrombopoietin, and bone marrow megakaryocyte colony-forming units remained unchanged. Platelet contents of liver and spleen were substantially reduced, without affecting macrophage function and number. Glycoprotein Ib (GPIb) shedding, exposure of P-selectin, and activated integrin αIIbβ3 upon activation with thrombin were reduced. Dietary ALA increased the platelet count by reducing platelet clearance in the reticulo-endothelial system. The latter appears to be mediated by reduced cleavage of GPIb by tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme and reduced platelet activation/expression of procoagulant signaling. Ex vivo, there was less adhesion of human platelets to von Willebrand factor under high shear conditions after ALA treatment. Thus, ALA may be a promising tool in transfusion medicine and in high turnover/high activation platelet disorders.

Keywords: Vascular Biology, Thrombosis, Shear Stress