The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a fetal shunt vessel between the pulmonary artery and the aorta that closes promptly after birth. Failure of postnatal DA closure is a major cause of morbidity and mortality particularly in preterm neonates. The events leading to DA closure are incompletely understood. Here we show that platelets have an essential role in DA closure. Using intravital microscopy of neonatal mice, we observed that platelets are recruited to the luminal aspect of the DA during closure. DA closure is impaired in neonates with malfunctioning platelet adhesion or aggregation or with defective platelet biogenesis. Defective DA closure resulted in a left-to-right shunt with increased pulmonary perfusion, pulmonary vascular remodeling and right ventricular hypertrophy. Our findings indicate that platelets are crucial for DA closure by promoting thrombotic sealing of the constricted DA and by supporting luminal remodeling. A retrospective clinical study revealed that thrombocytopenia is an independent predictor for failure of DA closure in preterm human newborns, indicating that platelets are likely to contribute to DA closure in humans.
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Application of Neonatologist Performed Echocardiography in the assessment of a patent ductus arteriosus
Pediatric Research Open Access 02 August 2018
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We thank M. Shakibaei, S. Reder and J. Schwarz for their support. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Ernst und Berta-Grimmke Foundation.
Supplementary Figures 1–9, Supplementary Tables 1–5 and Supplementary Methods (PDF 1729 kb)
Platelet adhesion and aggregation in the neonate mouse ductus arteriosus. The neonates were delivered at day 18.5 of gestation (i.e. few hours prior to the expected birth) by abdominal caesarean section and the DA exposed. The adhesion and aggregation of DCF-labeled platelets (green) was monitored in vivo 15 min after birth using a confocal fluorescence laser bundle microscopy (for details see Materials and Methods). In the movie persistent flow as well as platelet aggregate formation in the residual lumen of the contracted DA can be observed. (MOV 196 kb)
3D-animation of a contracted, but not fully occluded human DA imaged using 2-photon microscopy. Frozen sections were stained with DAPI (blue) and platelet CD41-specific antibody (red). The white line indicates the luminal surface (visible when exciting collagen autofluorescence). The movie was processed using Adobe After Effects software. (MOV 367 kb)
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Echtler, K., Stark, K., Lorenz, M. et al. Platelets contribute to postnatal occlusion of the ductus arteriosus. Nat Med 16, 75–82 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.2060
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