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Abstract

Immobility is a risk factor for thrombosis due to low blood flow, which may result in activation of the coagulation system, recruitment of platelets and clot formation. Nevertheless, hibernating animals-who endure lengthy periods of immobility-do not show signs of thrombosis throughout or after hibernation. One of the adaptations of hemostasis in hibernators consists of a rapidly reversible reduction of the number of circulating platelets during torpor, i.e., the hibernation phase with reduction of metabolic rate, low blood flow and immobility. It is unknown whether these platelet dynamics in hibernating hamsters originate from storage and release, as suggested for ground squirrel, or from breakdown and de novo synthesis. A reduction in detaching forces due to low blood flow can induce reversible adhesion of platelets to the vessel wall, which is called margination. Here, we hypothesized that storage-and-release by margination to the vessel wall induces reversible thrombocytopenia in torpor. Therefore, we transfused labeled platelets in hibernating Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) and platelets were analyzed using flow cytometry and electron microscopy. The half-life of labeled platelets was extended from 20 to 30 h in hibernating animals compared to non-hibernating control hamsters. More than 90% of labeled platelets were cleared from the circulation during torpor, followed by emergence during arousal which supports storage-and-release to govern thrombocytopenia in torpor. Furthermore, the low number of immature platelets, plasma level of interleukin-1α and normal numbers of megakaryocytes in bone marrow make platelet synthesis or megakaryocyte rupture via interleukin-1α unlikely to account for the recovery of platelet counts upon arousal. Finally, using large-scale electron microscopy we revealed platelets to accumulate in liver sinusoids, but not in spleen or lung, during torpor. These results thus demonstrate that platelet dynamics in hibernation are caused by storage and release of platelets, most likely by margination to the vessel wall in liver sinusoids. Translating the molecular mechanisms that govern platelet retention in the liver, may be of major relevance for hemostatic management in (accidental) hypothermia and for the development of novel anti-thrombotic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-615
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B, Biochemical, Systemic and Environmental Physiology
Volume191
Issue number3
Early online date2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2021

Keywords

  • Platelet
  • Thrombosis
  • Torpor
  • Temperature
  • Liver
  • Storage

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