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Demonstration of how blood clots: Platelets

What happens when real blood clots? Watch Dr Natasha Barrett explain in this video demonstration.
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Now let’s look at another part of haemostasis– the platelets. We’ve got our platelet suspension here. We can see that they’re pearlescent. They’re in a resting state. Let’s take some of the platelets and transfer them to a tube.
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We’ll add the same trigger.
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We’ll give them a mix.
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And put them in the water bath. Whilst that’s incubating in the water bath, let’s just prepare another sample to compare it.
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Again we’ll take the platelet.
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And we’ll transfer them into a tube.
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Now we’ll compare this tube of resting platelets with opalescent ones to our activated platelets. Let’s see how they’re doing. In this tube, we have our resting platelets. They’re discoid and pearlescent. If we then compare it to our platelets that have been activated, you can see that this tube is slightly clearer. The platelets are stuck together. They’ve aggregated and this is what happens during haemostasis or thrombosis.
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Arterial thrombosis is usually a result of inappropriate activation of platelets, whilst venous thrombosis is usually due to inappropriate activation of coagulation, or clotting factors.
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Arterial thrombosis that which occurs in the arteries, such as the coronary arteries in the heart, and the arteries that lead up into the head and neck, often happens as a result of the rupture of the fatty plaque or lesion.
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In the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research here at Reading, the atherosclerotic lab researches the biochemical mechanisms that lead to the growth and eventual rupture of fatty plaques, whilst the platelet signalling lab investigates what triggers platelets to activate, and what keeps them calm. It’s through research like this, that hopefully will one day lead to new therapies for heart attacks and strokes. Now we’ve seen what happens when real blood clots. Let’s mimic that by creating a thrombus.

Dr Natasha Barrett continues the demonstration by adding the same trigger (thrombin) to only the platelets.

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Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease

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