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Hematology - Immunology

Monocyte-Platelet Interaction Induces a Pro-Inflammatory Phenotype in Circulating Monocytes
Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Author: Gabriella Passacquale et al.

by Gabriella Passacquale, Padman Vamadevan, Luis Pereira, Colleen Hamid, Valerie Corrigall, Albert Ferro


Activated platelets exert a pro-inflammatory action that can be largely ascribed to their ability to interact with leukocytes and modulate their activity. We hypothesized that platelet activation and consequent formation of monocyte-platelet aggregates (MPA) induces a pro-inflammatory phenotype in circulating monocytes.

Methodology/Principal Findings

CD62P+ platelets and MPA were measured, and monocytes characterized, by whole blood flow cytometry in healthy subjects, before and two days after receiving influenza immunization. Three monocytic subsets were identified: CD14+CD16-, CD14highCD16+and CD14lowCD16+. The increase in high sensitivity C-reactive protein post-immunization was accompanied by increased platelet activation and MPA formation (25.02±12.57 vs 41.48±16.81; p?=?0.01), along with enhancement of circulating CD14highCD16+ cells (4.7±3.6 vs 10.4±4.8; p?=?0.003), their percentage being linearly related to levels of CD62P+-platelets (r2?=?0.4347; p?=?0.0008). In separate in vitro experiments, co-incubation of CD14+CD16- cells, isolated from healthy donor subjects, with autologous platelets gave rise to up-regulation of CD16 on monocytes as compared with those maintained in medium alone (% change in CD14+CD16+ cells following 48 h co-incubation of monocytes with platelets was +106±51% vs monocytes in medium alone; p<0.001). This effect correlated directly with degree of MPA formation (r2?=?0.7731; p<0.0001) and was associated with increased monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1) blocking antibody, which abrogates MPA formation, abolished these effects, as did the cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 selective inhibitor NS-398, aspirin and the EP1/EP2-selective antagonist AH6809.


These data suggest that MPA formation, as occurs in the blood under pro-inflammatory conditions, expands the pool of circulating CD14highCD16+ monocytes in a COX-2 dependent manner, and these monocytes exhibit increased adhesion to endothelium. Our findings delineate a novel mechanism underlying the pro-inflammatory effect of platelet activation.