Lipid phase separation correlates with activation in platelets during chilling

N. M. Tsvetkova, N. J. Walker, J. H. Crowe, C. L. Field, Y. Shi, Fern Tablin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


When human platelets are chilled below 22°C, they spontaneously activate, a phenomenon that severely limits their storage life. It has previously been proposed that there is a correlation between cold-induced platelet activation and passage of the membranes through a liquid-crystalline to gel phase transition. Because animal models are essential for developing methods for cold storage of platelets, it is necessary to investigate such a correlation in animal platelets. In this work, horse platelets were used as a model, and it was found that cold-induced morphological activation is related to the lipid phase transition. Using fluorescence microscopy with the lipophilic fluorescent dye 1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine perchlorate (Dil-C18), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), it was found that lipid phase separation occurs during cooling and low temperature storage. Furthermore, removal of cholesterol from the plasma membrane also induced a phase separation, possibly between specific phospholipid classes. Steady-state fluorescence anisotropy of 1,6-diphenyl-13,5-hexatriene (DPH) and trimethylammonium-DPH (TMA-DPH) were compared in cells and multilamellar vesicles (MLV) composed of platelet lipids. Cholesterol depletion led to a decrease in the fluorescence anisotropy of the two probes, which can be explained by changes in the order of the phospholipid molecules. In addition, the lipid composition and fatty acid profile of the cellular phospholipids were determined. Based of the similarities between horse and human platelets, it is suggested that horse platelets may be used as a model for studying cold-stored platelets. The results are discussed in relation to the possible role of phase separation during cell signalling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-218
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Membrane Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Activation
  • Dil
  • Domains
  • Membrane
  • Platelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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