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

Related Stories

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

June 17, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A team of Canadian researchers has found that platelets in mice liver collaborate with special types of white blood cells to help capture bacteria. In their paper published in the journal Nature Immunology, ...

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 ...

Breakthrough in understanding spread of cancer around the body reported

March 6, 2013
A new research study has investigated how cancer cells 'hijack' blood cells known as platelets, enabling cancer to spread around the body and promoting the growth of new tumours, it was reported today at the annual Royal ...

Research reveals new aspect of platelet behavior in heart attacks: Clots can sense blood flow

October 29, 2012
The disease atherosclerosis involves the build up of fatty tissue within arterial walls, creating unstable structures known as plaques. These plaques grow until they burst, rupturing the wall and causing the formation of ...

Recommended for you

Drug found that induces apoptosis in myofibroblasts reducing fibrosis in scleroderma

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found that the drug navitoclax can induce apoptosis (self-destruction) in myofibroblasts in mice, reducing the spread of fibrosis in scleroderma. In their paper ...

How defeating THOR could bring a hammer down on cancer

December 14, 2017
It turns out Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the Marvel superhero, has special powers when it comes to cancer too.

Researchers track muscle stem cell dynamics in response to injury and aging

December 14, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) describes the biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury. The findings, published in Cell Stem Cell, ...

'Human chronobiome' study informs timing of drug delivery, precision medicine approaches

December 13, 2017
Symptoms and efficacy of medications—and indeed, many aspects of the human body itself—vary by time of day. Physicians tell patients to take their statins at bedtime because the related liver enzymes are more active during ...

Study confirms link between the number of older brothers and increased odds of being homosexual

December 12, 2017
Groundbreaking research led by a team from Brock University has further confirmed that sexual orientation for men is likely determined in the womb.

Potassium is critical to circadian rhythms in human red blood cells

December 12, 2017
An innovative new study from the University of Surrey and Cambridge's MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, has uncovered the secrets of the circadian rhythms in ...

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.