In a paper published in the prestigious scientific journal Blood, a team of University of Rochester researchers opened a new frontier for platelets. They believe the platelet is the pivotal link between inflammation, heart disease and stroke - and may even be a key cell in the body that promotes diabetic complications, the origin of which remains unknown.
Furthermore, the team found that when platelets change from "good guys" to inflammatory villains, they could be doused with a common Type II diabetes drug that was developed to make tissue more insulin sensitive, but acts as an anti-inflammatory agent on platelets. This finding may offer a new way to use anti-diabetic drugs beyond diabetes treatment, or lead to the development of a new generation of drugs that target platelets.
The results came as a laboratory surprise during a broader investigation of platelets and inflammation, led by corresponding author Richard Phipps, Ph.D., University of Rochester Medical Center professor and director of the Lung Biology and Disease Program. Co-authors include Neil Blumberg, M.D., director of the university's Strong Memorial Hospital Blood Bank and professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Charles W. Francis, M.D., an authority on vascular disease and a UR professor of Medicine; graduate student Denise Ray, blood bank specialist Kelly F. Gettings, and Filize Akbiyik, M.D., a visiting scientist.
"Our findings totally shift the way we view platelets," Phipps says. "Normally non-nucleated cells have limited capabilities, but we now believe that platelets are far more complex
Contact: Leslie Orr
University of Rochester Medical Center