Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Platelet α-granules have been reported to consist of two zones, nucleoid and electron-lucent matrix, with different densities under electron microscopy. When washed human platelets were prepared by a rapid freeze-substitution method using liquid helium, we found that the electron-lucent matrix could be further subclassified into two zones having different densities: the intermediate and the light zones. The light zone was located at the periphery opposite the most dense nucleoid and contained several tubular structures with diameters of about 20 nm. The intermediate zone often laid between the nucleoid and light zone. By careful inspection, intermediate and light zones could even be identified in the platelets embedded in Lowicryl K4M, which where then used to localize several adhesive proteins in these two zone by immunocytochemical studies using the respective polyclonal antibodies. Fibrinogen, thrombospondin, and fibronectin were detected only in the intermediate zone. In contrast, von Willebrant factor (vWF) was localized only in the light zone, suggesting an association between vWF and the tubular structures in the light zone. In the nucleoid, none of these adhesive proteins were detected. Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa, a receptor for these adhesive proteins on the platelet surface, was detected not only on the outer surface of the cell membranes but also on the inner surface of the α-granule membrane. These data indicate that two zones with different densities in electron-lucent matrix and functions exist in the platelet α-granules.
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