Currently, platelets for transfusion are stored at room temperature (RT) for 5–7 days with gentle agitation, but this is less than optimal because of loss of function and risk of bacterial contamination. We have previously demonstrated that cold (4°C) storage is an attractive alternative because it preserves platelet metabolic reserves, in vitro responses to agonists of activation, aggregation and physiological inhibitors, as well as adhesion to thrombogenic surfaces better than RT storage. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration clarified that apheresis platelets stored at 4°C for up to 72 h may be used for treating active haemorrhage. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that cold-stored platelets contribute to generating clots with superior mechanical properties compared to RT-stored platelets. Rheological studies demonstrate that the clots formed from platelets stored at 4°C for 5 days are significantly stiffer (higher elastic modulus) and stronger (higher critical stress) than those formed from RT-stored platelets. Morphological analysis shows that clot fibres from cold-stored platelets were denser, thinner, straighter and with more branch points or crosslinks than those from RT-stored platelets. Our results also show that the enhanced clot strength and packed structure is due to cold-induced plasma factor XIII binding to platelet surfaces, and the consequent increase in crosslinking.
- clot strength
- factor XIII