Thrombopoietin (TPO) is a humoral growth factor that does not induce platelet aggregation per se, but enhances platelet activation in response to several agonists. Circulating levels of TPO are increased in patients with sepsis and are mainly related to sepsis severity.Objectives:
To investigate the potential contribution of elevated TPO levels in platelet activation during burn injury complicated or not by sepsis.Methods:
We studied 22 burned patients, 10 without and 12 with sepsis, and 10 healthy subjects. We measured plasma levels of TPO, as well as leukocyte-platelet binding and P-selectin expression. The priming activity of plasma from burned patients or healthy subjects on platelet aggregation and leukocyte-platelet binding, and the role of TPO in these effects were also studied in vitro.Results:
Burned patients without and with sepsis showed higher circulating TPO levels and increased monocyte-platelet binding compared with healthy subjects. Moreover, TPO levels, monocyte-platelet binding and P-selectin expression were significantly higher in burned patients with sepsis than in burned patients without sepsis. In vitro, plasma from burned patients without and with sepsis, but not from healthy subjects, primed platelet aggregation, monocyte-platelet binding and platelet P-selectin expression. The effect of plasma from burned patients with sepsis was significantly higher than that of plasma from burned patients without sepsis. An inhibitor of TPO prevented the priming effect of plasma from burned patients.Conclusions:
Increased TPO levels may enhance platelet activation during burn injury and sepsis, potentially participating in the pathogenesis of multi-organ failure in these diseases.