Department or Program

Biological Chemistry

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Don E. Elmore

Additional Advisor(s)

Andrew L. Frelinger III

Additional Advisor

Adam G. Matthews

Additional Advisor

Nolan T. Flynn


Platelet transfusion is an important, life saving therapy for treatment of thrombocytopenia and active bleeding related complications. To be clinically effective, transfused platelets must have sufficient ability to mediate hemostatic regulatory function and circulate. Current practices for storing platelet concentrates (PCs) for transfusion therapy are suboptimal. PCs are standardly stored at room temperature (22-24C°) as cold exposure (4-6C°) irreversibly compromises platelets, making them susceptible to rapid clearance from circulation. Room temperature (RT) storage increases risks of bacterial contamination, thus PCs are restricted to a shelf life of 5 days leading to PC shortages and waste. Cold storage of platelets is an increasingly desirable alternative as risks of bacterial contamination are reduced and PC shelf life extended with cold storage. This study re-evaluates the consequences of long-term (5 day) RT and cold storage on platelet functionality to better inform development of current platelet storage standards. Specifically platelet hemostatic function and platelet GPIbα receptor glycan exposure, as it relates to cold-induced platelet clearance, was evaluated by flow cytometric analysis and aggregometry at select time points. The results of this study demonstrate cold storage better preserves platelet hemostatic functionality than RT storage, thus supporting cold storage as a desirable condition to optimize for PC storage. Furthermore results from this study support a recently proposed, novel, long-term storage platelet clearance mechanism and provide insight into the GPIbα receptor glycan exposure dynamics of long-term RT and cold stored platelets.