Understanding the underlying mechanisms of the well-substantiated platelet hyporeactivity in neonates is of interest given their implications for the clinical management of newborns, a population at higher bleeding risk than adults (especially sick and preterm infants), as well as for gaining insight into the regulatory mechanisms of platelet biology. Transcriptome analysis is useful in identifying mRNA signatures affecting platelet function. However, human fetal/neonatal platelet transcriptome analysis has never before been reported. A team led by researchers from Morales Meseguer University Hospital recently used mRNA expression profiling for the first time to compare platelet transcriptome changes during development.

Microarray analysis was performed in pure platelet RNA obtained from adult and cord blood, using the same platform in two independent laboratories. A high correlation was obtained between array results for both adult and neonate platelet samples. There was also good agreement between results in the adult samples and outcomes previously reported in three different studies. Gene enrichment analysis showed that immunity- and platelet function-related genes are highly expressed at both developmental stages. Remarkably, 201 genes were found to be differentially expressed throughout development. In particular, neonatal platelets contain higher levels of mRNA that are associated with protein synthesis and processing, while carrying significantly lower levels of genes involved in calcium transport/metabolism and cell signaling (including GNAZ).

Overall, these results point to variations in platelet transcriptome as possibly underlining the hypo-functional phenotype of neonatal platelets and provide further support for the role of platelets in cellular immune response. Better characterization of the platelet transcriptome throughout development can contribute to elucidating how transcriptome changes impact different pathological conditions.

Genome profiling characterization of platelet during development

(A) Hierarchical clustering of differentially expressed genes between newborn and adult human platelets (FCh2, p<0.05). (B) Top 40 differentially expressed genes (p<0.05) ranked by fold change.


E. Caparrós-Pérez, J. Rivera, , J. E. Blanco, V. Vicente, C. Martínez , F. Ferrer-Marín et al. (2017) Comprehensive comparison of neonate and adult human platelet transcriptomes PLoS ONE 12(8): e0183042 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183042 [article]

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