• aggregate disaggregation;
  • gramicidin S;
  • membrane;
  • platelets;
  • swelling;
  • temperature

Gramicidin S (GS) is a cyclic decapeptide antibiotic active against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as against several pathogenic fungi. However, clinical application of GS is limited because of GS hemolytic activity. The large number of GS analogues with potentially attenuated hemolytic activity has been developed over the last two decades. For all new GS derivatives, the antimicrobial test is accompanied with the hemolytic activity assay. At the same time, neither GS nor its analogues were tested against other blood cells. In the present work, the effects of GS on platelets and platelet aggregates have been studied.

GS interaction with platelets is concentration dependent and leads either to platelet swelling or platelet shape change. Effect of GS on platelets is independent of platelet aggregation mechanism.

GS induces disaggregation of platelet aggregates formed in the presence of aggregation agonists. The rate of the GS interaction with platelet membranes depends on membrane lipid mobility and significantly increases with temperature. The interaction of GS with the platelet membranes depends strongly on the state of the membrane lipids. Factors affecting the membrane lipids (temperature, lipid peroxidation and ionising irradiation) modify GS interaction with platelets.

Our results show that GS is active not only against erythrocytes but also against other blood cells (platelets). The estimated numbers of GS molecules per 1 µm2 of a blood cell required to induce erythrocyte hemolysis and disaggregation of platelet aggregates are comparable. This must be considered when developing new antimicrobial GS analogues with improved hemolytic properties. Copyright © 2012 European Peptide Society and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.