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Abstract

To examine the possible receptor-ligand pairs mediating adhesion of activated and “unactivated” platelets to leukocytes and the kinetics of leukocyte-platelet binding, we developed a flow cytometric assay using isolated cell fractions to accurately measure heterotypic cell adhesion, including both total leukocyte-platelet conjugate formation as well as the number of platelets bound per leukocyte. We have shown that (1) activated platelet binding to both polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) and monocytes is dependent on both a specific epitope (blocked by monoclonal antibody G1) of granule membrane protein-140 (GMP-140) and the presence of divalent cations; (2) unactivated platelets bind to 87% of viable, resting monocytes but to only 34% of PMN; (3) the receptor(s) on unactivated platelets that mediate adhesion to PMN and monocytes do not require divalent cations and become nonfunctional after thrombin activation; and (4) the kinetics of platelet adhesion to monocytes and PMN indicate that monocyte adhesion is favored over neutrophil adhesion. We conclude that platelet- heterotypic cell adhesion is a dynamic process reflecting the activation status of the platelet and differential binding abilities of leukocytes.