Design of a Novel Apparatus to Study Nitric Oxide (NO) Inhibition of Platelet Adhesion

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Nitric oxide (NO) is a simple biological molecule which inhibits adhesion and aggregation of platelets. A novel NO delivery device has been developed to quantitatively study the effects of NO concentration and flux on the adhesion of platelets to a surface. The slit-flow device is lined with a protein-coated membrane through which NO gas permeates into a perfusing platelet suspension. A model predicting spatial NO concentrations and fluxes within the flow slit was validated. At a wall shear rate of 250 s−1, platelet adhesion was inhibited 87% relative to controls for exposures as low as 0.1 ppm NO. Corresponding model predictions of the aqueous NO concentration and fluxes at the surface were 0.15 nM, and between 0.5 and 1.1 nanomoles cm−2 s−1, respectively. Endo-thelial cells, which release NO to inhibit platelet adhesion in vivo, generate NO at an estimated flux similar to the above values. At a NO exposure of 0.02 ppm, platelet inhibition was only 10%. The delivery device is useful for other studies in which a knowledge of the spatial NO fluxes or concentrations is desired. Knowledge of these fluxes or concentrations is beneficial towards the design of biomaterials incorporating NO to inhibit platelet adhesion.

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