• platelet activation;
  • collagen;
  • P-selectin;
  • glycoprotein IIb/IIIa;
  • flow cytometry

The interaction of platelets with collagens of the vessel wall is a critical event in primary haemostasis. Although numerous studies have examined the ability of various collagen types to support platelet adhesion, little is known concerning the relative ability of different collagens to elicit specific activation markers in platelets. In this report, flow cytometric analysis has been utilized to evaluate the ability of various native collagen types to elicit secondary activation events in human platelets. Collagen types I, III, V and VI induced α-granule secretion and up-regulation of cell surface glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa. In contrast, collagen type IV did not elicit these responses in the concentration ranges examined. Dose–response curves for α-granule secretion induced by the various collagen types indicated that human type III and human type I collagens were less effective than human type V, human type VI and calf skin type I. In addition, the ability of these various collagens to activate GPIIb/IIIa to its ligand binding conformation was even more heterogenous with only human type VI and calf skin type I readily promoting this transition. These data demonstrate that flow cytometric analysis of collagen-induced platelet activation is feasible and that collagen-mediated α-granule secretion and membrane glycoprotein redistribution in human platelets are separate events from activation of GPIIb/IIIa.