Platelet interaction with activated endothelium: mechanistic insights from microfluidics

Daniëlle M. Coenen, Tom G. Mastenbroek and Judith M.E.M. Cosemans


Traditionally, in vitro flow chamber experiments and in vivo arterial thrombosis studies have been proven to be of vital importance to elucidate the mechanisms of platelet thrombus formation after vessel wall injury. In recent years, it has become clear that platelets also act as modulators of inflammatory processes, such as atherosclerosis. A key element herein is the complex crosstalk between platelets, the coagulation system, leukocytes and the activated endothelium. This review provides insight into the platelet-endothelial interface, based on in vitro flow chamber studies and cross referenced with in vivo thrombosis studies. The main mechanisms of platelet interaction with the activated endothelium encompass i) platelet rolling via interaction of platelet glycoprotein Ib-IX-V with endothelial-released von Willebrand factor with a supporting role for the P-selectin - P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1 axis, followed by ii) firm platelet adhesion to the endothelium via interaction of platelet αIIbβ3 with endothelial αvβ3 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1, and iii) a stimulatory role for thrombin, the thrombospondin-1 - CD36 axis and cyclooxygenase 1 in subsequent platelet activation and stable thrombus formation. In addition, the molecular mechanisms underlying the stimulatory effect of platelets on leukocyte transendothelial migration, a key mediator of atheroprogression, are discussed. Throughout the review emphasis is placed on recommendations for setting up, reporting, interpreting and comparing endothelial-lined flow chamber studies and on suggestions for future studies.

  • Submitted April 24, 2017.
  • Accepted October 3, 2017.