The internal calcium concentration of human platelets increases during chilling

Ann E. Oliver, Fern Tablin, Naomi J. Walker, John H. Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Human platelets must be stored at 22°C in blood banks, because of the well-known phenomenon of cold-induced activation. When human platelets are chilled below room temperature, they undergo shape change and vesicle secretion that resembles physiological agonist-mediated activation. The trigger for the cascade of events leading to platelet activation at hypothermic temperatures is not known, although an increase in the internal calcium concentration ([Ca](i)) due to passage of the platelet membranes through their thermotropic phase transition has been proposed. We report here that the fluorescent calcium-sensitive probe, Indo-1, has been used to estimate the internal calcium concentration of human platelets during a reduction in temperature from 20°C to 5°C at a rate of 0.5°C/min. An increase on the order of 100 nM was recorded. Almost all of the increase in [Ca2+](i) occurs during the chilling process, as incubation of platelets for 1 h at low temperature did not lead to a continued calcium concentration increase. The increase in [Ca2+](i) during chilling is likely to be due to more than a single mechanism, but might include some release of the calcium stores from the dense tubule system. Loading platelets with the calcium chelator BAPTA (1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid) dramatically reduced the increase in [Ca2+](i) seen during chilling. Antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) isolated from the blood serum of Antarctic fishes, which are known to protect platelets from cold-induced activation, did not eliminate the rise in [Ca2+](i) during chilling, suggesting that signaling mechanisms are likely to be involved in cold-induced activation. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 12 1999


  • Calcium
  • Cold-induced activation
  • Indo-1
  • Membrane phase transition
  • Platelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biophysics


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