Researchers find key to blood-clotting process

June 26, 2013
Researchers find key to blood-clotting process

Researchers, including Professor Alastair Poole and Dr Matthew Harper from the University of Bristol's School of Physiology and Pharmacology, have uncovered a key process in understanding how blood clots form that could help pave the way for new therapies to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

The research, carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Homburg and Heidelberg in Germany, the National Institutes of Health in the USA and University College London, focuses on the action of platelets in the blood clotting process.

These platelets are very small cells in our blood that are essential to blood clotting when we damage a blood vessel. Unfortunately, platelet clots can also block blood vessels in the heart, leading to heart attacks.

When blood vessels are damaged they expose the and produce , which then trigger the platelets to create a clot or thrombus. It has been known for some time that platelets are activated much more strongly if they detect both collagen and at the same time, but until now it has been a puzzle as how this happens.

Now the research from Bristol and others, which is published today [25 June] in the journal Science Signalling, has shown that platelets respond to simultaneous exposure to these two strong signals by opening a channel in their , made up of the proteins TRPC3 and TRPC6.

This channel, which is not opened if platelets detect only one of the damage signals, allows to penetrate the and that triggers the to expose a procoagulant surface, which means that they generate more thrombin. This can lead to a vicious cycle of more platelet activation, the generation of more thrombin and bigger clots.

Explore further: Blood cell breakthrough could help treat heart disease

Related Stories

Blood cell breakthrough could help treat heart disease

April 27, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Scientists at the University of Reading have made a groundbreaking discovery into the way blood clots are formed, potentially leading to the development of new drugs to treat one of the world's biggest killer ...

Recommended for you

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

August 31, 2015

You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive ...

Biologists identify mechanisms of embryonic wound repair

August 31, 2015

It's like something out of a science-fiction movie - time-lapse photography showing how wounds in embryos of fruit flies heal themselves. The images are not only real; they shed light on ways to improve wound recovery in ...

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.