The c-Mpl receptor for thrombopoietin and its recombinant related protein, the megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF), is also expressed on circulating platelets. In the present study we evaluated the effect of MGDF on platelet aggregation in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and in whole blood. The results obtained indicate that MGDF by itself did not affect platelet aggregation. However, when added before other agonists such as adenosine diphosphates (ADP), epinephrine (EPI), and thrombin (THR), it rendered platelets more sensitive. This “priming” effect of MGDF was dependent on the dose and on the time of platelet preincubation, and it occurred both in PRP and in whole-blood platelet aggregation. MGDF also “primed” the release of adenosine triphosphates and the production of thromboxane B2 by platelets stimulated with ADP, EPI, and THR. When added 15 seconds after the preincubation of platelets with subthreshold concentrations of ADP, EPI, and THR, MGDF exhibited a synergism with these agonists. Moreover, we observed a “priming” effect of MGDF on the phosphorylation of p-42 mitogen-activated protein kinase promoted by ADP, EPI, and THR. These observations suggest that thrombopoietin may play a physiologic role in modulating the response of platelets to several stimuli and thereby their hemostatic potential.

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