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How platelets naturally form unobtrusive clots (Image 2)

Activated platelets with platelet extensions called filopodia


Activated platelets with platelet extensions called filopodia. The first view of the physical mechanism of how a blood clot contracts at the level of individual platelets is giving researchers a new look at a natural process that is part of blood clotting. A team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania describes how specialized proteins in platelets cause clots to shrink in size. [See related image Here.]

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The first view of the physical mechanism of how a blood clot contracts at the level of individual platelets is giving researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania a new look at a natural process that is part of blood clotting.

To learn how a clot contracts, the Penn team imaged clots (networks of fibrin fibers and blood platelets) using an imaging technique called confocal light microscopy. The natural process of clot contraction is necessary for the body to effectively stem bleeding, reduce the size of otherwise obstructive clots, and promote wound healing.

The physical mechanism of platelet-driven clot contraction they observed is already informing new ways to think about diagnosing and treating conditions such as ischemic stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and heart attacks.

This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grant DMR 15-05662).

To learn more about this research, see the NSF News From the Field story Video of blood clot contraction reveals how platelets naturally form unobtrusive clots. (Date image taken: Unknown; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Feb. 27, 2018)

Credit: Oleg V. Kim, Rustem I. Litvinov, Mark S. Alber and John W. Weisel
 
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