Platelet processing and storage are associated with platelet lesion, e.g. shape change, activation, release reaction and apoptosis, which is partially due to loss of surface receptors. Surface sialic acid is considered to be a key determinant for the survival of circulating blood cells and glycoproteins. However, its role in platelet receptor loss and platelet survival is unclear. In this study, the relationship between surface sialic acid and platelet receptor loss was investigated in vitro and in vivo. Murine platelets stored at room temperature for 6 hours lost surface sialic acid, as evidenced by flow cytometry using FITC conjugated RCA I lectin, which recognizes exposed galactose residues. This loss correlated with a 30–60% loss of surface receptors GPIbα and GPV, but not GPIX and integrin αIIbβ3, as measured by flow cytometry. Treatment of murine platelets with the neuraminidase (NA) substrate fetuin partially decreases the loss of GPIbα and GPV to 10–20%. In vitro, sialic acid was cleaved from the platelet surface by adding NA (α2-3,6,8-NA (V. cholerae) or α2-3,6,-NA (C. perfringens)) to murine platelets. Removal of sialic acid correlated with the removal of 50–60% of surface GPIbα and GPV, but not GPIX and integrin αIIbβ3. Addition of fetuin, or the more specific NA inhibitor 2,3-dehydro-2-deoxy-, sodium salt (DANA), completely prevented this loss, as determined by both flow cytometry and Western blot analysis. Murine platelets treated with α2-3,6,8-NA (V. cholerae) ± the addition of DANA were labeled with the green dye CMFDA and transfused into age-, strain- and sex-matched C57BL/6 mice to measure platelet survival. NA-treated platelets were cleared within minutes after transfusion, whereas the addition of DANA rescued platelet survival to control-count increments. Our study shows that inhibiting the loss of surface sialic acid prevents platelet surface GPIbα and GPV loss during storage in vitro and rescues platelet survival in vivo.

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