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Non-identity of the α-Granules of Human Blood Platelets with Typical Lysosomes


PLATELETS are known to be important in blood coagulation, in haemostasis and in thrombosis, and during this process they undergo a series of profound morphological and biochemical changes termed viscous metamorphosis. Platelets contain a wide variety of subcellular organelles1–5, and some of them are altered during viscous metamorphosis6,7. The most prominent organelles are the very osmiophilic α-granules, which disappear shortly after the onset of viscous metamorphosis6. The α-granules are believed by some to be the chief source of platelet factor 3, the pro-coagulant phospholipoprotein of platelets4,8,9; others regard them as storage organelles for serotonin10,11 and adenosine triphosphate (ATP)12. On the other hand, several authors13–15 have believed that platelets contain granules with lysosomal activity, and recently Marcus et al.16 claimed to have identified as lysosomes α-granules isolated from platelet homogenates. Evidence from electron microscopy has encouraged17 a comparison of the α-granules with the enzyme-secreting vesicles of the pancreas, and similar particles have been described with the same typical striated internal structure in endothelial cells18. Thus there are discrepancies in the interpretation of the nature and function of the α-granules and a reinvestigation of the problem seemed justified.

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SIEGEL, A., LÜSCHER, E. Non-identity of the α-Granules of Human Blood Platelets with Typical Lysosomes. Nature 215, 745–747 (1967).

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