Reactive oxygen species and human platelet GP IIb/IIIa receptor activation

John C. Sill, Jacqueline A. Proper, Michael E. Johnson, Cindy B. Uhl, Zvonimir S. Katusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study concerned reactive oxygen species for their potential to activate human platelet GP IIb/IIIa receptors. All cells produce reactive oxygen species - radicals that can abstract electrons and hydrogen atoms from biological molecules to alter cell function. In many cells, radicals contribute to cellular signaling. In platelets, the predominant oxidant effect is platelet activation. Less is known concerning oxidants and GP IIb/IIIa receptor activation. The first aim of the current study was to confirm that although both H2O2 and tert butyl hydroperoxide both predispose platelets to aggregation; neither directly activates GP IIb/IIIa receptors. The second aim was to demonstrate that even in the presence of extracellular redox iron; H2O2 does not activate GP IIb/IIIa receptors. The third aim was to determine if extracellular superoxide anions evoke GP IIb/IIIa activation. Finally, a role for intra-platelet iron in GP IIb/IIIa activation was examined. Intracellular superoxide anions are produced in excess during platelet activation and curiously, they are uniquely able to increase intracellular free iron. This iron can, in a redox manner, generate radicals and these iron dependent species modulate signaling systems, including systems associated with adhesion receptor activation. In the current studies, platelets in suspension were exposed to H2O2 and to tert butyl hydroperoxide, to H2O2 plus ferrous or ferric chloride (± ascorbate to enhance iron redox cycling) and to xanthine plus xanthine oxidase to generate extra-platelet superoxide anions. Intra-platelet iron was increased with iron ionophore 8-hydroxyquinoline. During flow cytometry, intra-platelet oxidant state was assessed with the redox sensitive fluorescent indicator H2DCF, while GP IIb/IIIa activation was assessed using fluorescent antibody PAC-1. Results showed that although all the oxidizing systems examined increased intra-platelet oxidant state, GP IIb/IIIa receptors were not activated by H2O2, by tert butyl hydroperoxide, by H2O2 plus iron (± ascorbate) or by xanthine plus xanthine oxidase. In contrast, iron plus ionophore 8-hydroxyquinoline evoked GP IIb/IIIa activation. Platelet positivity for PAC-1 increased from 2 ± 0.2 to 28 ± 7% (P < 0.005). However this response, although vigorous, was less than 56 ± 8% (P < 0.001) evoked by thrombin 0.1 milliunit/ml. In conclusion, the results indicated that oxidant systems external to platelets did not activate GP IIb/IIIa receptors while increased intra-platelet iron was associated with appearance of cytosolic oxidizing species and with GP IIb/IIIa receptor activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • GP IIb/IIIa
  • Platelets
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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