Platelets are important in maintaining hemostasis in newborns, where bleeding can arise from abnormal platelet function and/or thrombocytopenia. It is well established that plasma coagulation factor concentrations are lower in neonates compared to children and adults, but less is known about the development and function of neonatal platelets. It has been postulated that platelets from neonates, and to a greater extend from premature neonates, are dysfunctional due to low dense granule counts (
normal numbers of dense granules are present in neonatal platelets, but a subset cannot be detected via EM owing to insufficient calcium uptake;
there are fewer dense granules in neonatal platelets owing to peculiarities in the development of megakaryocytes, where recent studies have suggested that dense granules originate by an active transport mechanism and move into proplatelets.
These possibilities point to the usefulness of studying fetal and neonatal megakaryopoiesis.
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