Qualitative scanning electron microscopy analysis of fibrin networks and platelet abnormalities in diabetes

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Diabetes is a condition defined by hyperglycaemia and these patients have a high risk of thrombosis. Previous research showed that ultrastructural changes in clot formation occur in patients in whom there are changes in the coagulation system due to, for example, an inflammatory condition. In the current study, the ultrastructures of platelets and fibrin networks were investigated in 25 diabetic patients. Plasma smears, with and without the addition of thrombin, were prepared. Results indicated that the fibrin network in all diabetic patients had thickened masses of thin, minor fibres over the major fibres, a profile typical of an inflammatory condition. A changed platelet membrane ultrastructure could also be observed in the diabetic patients that revealed typical apoptotic morphology, in whom membrane blebbing could be seen. It can, therefore, be concluded that in diabetic patients, the ultrastructure of fibrin networks show a typical systemic inflammatory profile, although platelets seem to be apoptotic.

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