Clingy platelets suggest potential treatment strategy for rheumatoid arthritis

August 29, 2013

No one likes clingy people, but "clingy" blood platelets may offer hope for millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis. According to new research findings published in The Journal of Leukocyte Biology, a sub population of immune cells (lymphocytes) known to play a significant role in rheumatoid arthritis has platelets attached to their surface. Those attached platelets reduced the ability of the immune cells to cause disease by reducing their activity levels and ability to spread. This opens the door to new investigations into treatments that ultimately bind platelets to lymphocytes. In addition, understanding this process may serve as a tool for better being able to predict the severity of the disease.

"We hope with this knowledge to contribute to the reduction in the chronicity of inflammatory diseases, one of the main aspects that compromise the quality of life of the patients," said Silvia Vidal, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Immunology at the Institut Recerca of the Hospital Santa Creu I Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain.

To make this discovery, scientists found specific platelet markers on the surface of lymphocytes from peripheral blood of healthy donors by flow cytometry. Visual confirmation that these markers belonged to platelets attached to lymphocytes was achieved by confocal microscopy. In , those lymphocytes with bound platelets were less sensitive to activation and proliferation, and they produced less . Researchers analyzed the frequency of these platelet-bound lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of 20 rheumatoid arthritis patients. Associations were established between clinical parameters and activity disease scores and the frequency of platelet-bound lymphocytes.

"This report expands our understanding of how the mechanisms of inflammation operate and reveal new potential ways we can bring it under control," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Defining how platelets regulate other immune cells by binding to their surface and influencing their role in inflammation, is an important step toward new platelet-based treatments to control damaging caused by many ."

Explore further: Researchers find platelets play a collaborative role in eradicating blood borne bacteria

More information: Carlos Zamora, Elisabet Cantó, Juan C. Nieto, M. Angels Ortiz, Cesar Diaz-Torné, Cesar Diaz-Lopez, Josep M. Llobet, Candido Juarez, and Sílvia Vidal. Functional consequences of platelet binding to T lymphocytes in inflammation. J Leukoc Biol, September 2013, 94:521-529; DOI: 10.1189/jlb.0213074

Related Stories

Platelets block HIV

July 23, 2013

Scientists of the DPZ have shown that platelet activation inhibits the host cell entry of HIV

Recommended for you

Low vitamin D tied to dry eye syndromes

August 23, 2015

(HealthDay)—Patients with vitamin D deficiency should be evaluated for dry eye syndromes, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Yoga improves arthritis symptoms and mood, study finds

September 15, 2015

A randomized trial of people with two common forms of arthritis has found that yoga can be safe and effective for people with arthritis. Johns Hopkins researchers report that 8 weeks of yoga classes improved the physical ...

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.