Some investigators have reported recently that platelet surface sialic acid is decreased during ADP-induced aggregation, whereas others have reported an increase. Since removal of sialic acid from the platelet surface shortens platelet survival, we have determined the survival of platelets that have been aggregatad by ADP. We have also measured the amount of sialic acid in the suspending fluid of platelets after ADP- induced aggregation. ADP-induced aggregation did not cause the loss of sialic acid from rabbit platelets (which do not undergo a release reaction in response to ADP) nor from washed human platelets in a medium containing physiologic concentrations of calcium in which granule contents are not released. In a medium without added calcium, ADP caused the release of 14C-serotonin (42.5% +/- 3%) from human platelets, but less than 4% of the sialic-acid-containing material was released. It seems likely that little of the releasable sialic acid of platelets is in the dense granules or the alpha-granules. Thrombin (5 U/ml) released 90.0% +/- 3.4% of the serotonin from human platelets but only 20.6% +/- 7.4% of the total sialic-acid-containing material. Neuraminidase removed 42.3% of the total sialic acid, presumably from the platelet surface. Rabbit platelets that had been aggregated by ADP and deaggregated survived normally when returned to the circulation. This observation also provides evidence that they had not lost membrane sialic acid during aggregation and deaggregation.

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