Disturbance of plasma and platelet thrombospondin levels in sickle cell disease

Paul V. Browne, Deane F. Mosher, Martin H. Steinberg, Robert P. Hebbel

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Thrombospondin (TSP), a large protein found in platelet α-granules (as TSP-1), mediates adhesion of sickle reticulocytes to cultured vascular endothelium. To further explore the physiologic relevance of this observation, we have measured plasma TSP levels and platelet TSP-1 content in subjects with sickle cell disease. Plasma TSP levels were similar for normal-controls (mean 491 ng/ml, range 331-723) and steady-state HbSS patients (mean 536, range 333-1107) and were significantly (P = 0.912) but variably elevated for HbSS patients presenting with acute painful crisis (mean 868, range 442-2780). Some of these elevated plasma TSP levels reached those previously observed to support maximal red cell adhesion to endotheliumin vitro, compared to normals, both steady-state and in-crisis HbSS patients had significantly (P < 0.001) depressed platelet TSP-1 content (82.6 ± 11.9, 47.1 ± 16.0 and 45.9 ± 20.7 ng/106 platelets, respectively, mean ±SD). HbSC disease patients, all examined during steady state, had low-normal plasma levels of TSP and either normal or depressed platelet TSP-1 content. Serial observations on three sickle cell anemia subjects indicated a probable relationship between platelet TSP-1 release, elevated plasma TSP levels, and acute vasoocclusive episodes. These results suggest a State of ongoing release and depletion of TSP-1 from activated platelets in patients with sickle cell disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Platelets
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thrombospondin


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