BACKGROUND: Although many donors undergo repeated plateletpheresis, data on the consequences of plateletpheresis for the donor's health remain scarce. Thus, the effect of plateletpheresis on the activation of coagulation, fibrinolysis, and neutrophils was investigated.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Part 1: Sixteen healthy men were randomly assigned to undergo plateletpheresis on a cell separator (AMICUS, Fenwal Baxter; or MCS 3p, Haemonetics). The effects of plateletpheresis on plasma levels of prothrombin fragment (F1+2), d-dimer, plasmin-plasmin inhibitor (PPI) complexes, and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1); on the activation of neutrophils (% l-selectin+); and on the frequency of platelet-neutrophil aggregates (% CD41 + neutrophils) were compared. Part 2: Ten healthy men received infusions of ACD-A and placebo without apheresis in a randomized, double-blind crossover study to control for the pharmacologic effects of citrate.

RESULTS: Part 1: No change in F1+2 occurred (p>0.05), which indicated that plateletpheresis did not enhance coagulation. Levels of d-dimer, PPI, and PAI-1 decreased over time on the AMICUS (p<0.001). Plateletpheresis did not activate neutrophils (p>0.05), but it decreased the percentage of CD41+ neutrophils (p<0.003). An approximately 80-percent drop in mononuclear cells was observed in the extracorporeal circulation of the AMICUS (p<0.001 vs. baseline and p = 0.005 vs. MCS 3p), and circulating lymphocyte and monocyte counts decreased concomitantly. Part 2: Infusion of ACD-A slightly decreased d-dimer levels (p<0.05), and both infusions decreased the circulating lymphocyte counts.

CONCLUSION: Plateletpheresis can be regarded as safe with respect to the activation of coagulation or neutrophils. The consequences for the donor's health of the decrease in d-dimer, PPI, and PAI-1 may deserve further investigation.