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Platelet Function Disorders


Overview :

Platelets are formed in the bone marrow'a spongy tissue located inside the long bones of the body'as fragments of a large precursor cell (a megakaryocyte). These fragments circulate in the bloodstream and form the first line of defense against blood escaping from injured blood vessels.

Damaged blood vessels release a chemical signal that increases the stickiness of platelets in the area of the injury. The sticky platelets adhere to the damaged area and gradually form a platelet plug. At the same time, the platelets release a series of chemical signals that prompt other factors in the blood to reinforce the platelet plug. Between the platelet and its reinforcements, a sturdy clot is created that acts as a patch while the damaged area heals.

There are several hereditary disorders characterized by some impairment of the platelet's action. Examples include von Willebrand's disease, Glanzmann's thrombasthenia, and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. Vulnerable aspects of platelet function include errors in the production of the platelets themselves or errors in the formation, storage, or release of their chemical signals. These defects can prevent platelets from responding to injuries or from prompting the action of other factors involved in clot formation.




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