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Keywords:

  • calcium;
  • platelet;
  • shear;
  • signaling;
  • thrombus;
  • von Willebrand factor

Summary.  Recent in vivo studies have highlighted the dynamic and complex nature of platelet thrombus growth and the requirement for multiple adhesive receptor–ligand interactions in this process. In particular, the importance of von Willebrand factor (VWF) in promoting both primary adhesion and aggregation under high shear conditions is now well established. In general, the efficiency with which platelets adhere and aggregate at sites of vessel wall injury is dependent on the synergistic action of various adhesive and soluble agonist receptors, with the contribution of each of the individual receptors dependent on the prevailing blood flow conditions. In this review, we will discuss the major platelet adhesive interactions regulating platelet thrombus formation under high shear, with specific focus on the VWF (GPIb and integrin αIIbβ3) and collagen receptors (GPVI and integrin α2β1). We will also discuss the signaling mechanisms utilized by these receptors to induce platelet activation with specific emphasis on the role of cytosolic calcium flux in regulating platelet adhesion dynamics. The role of soluble agonists in promoting thrombus growth will be highlighted and a model to explain the synergistic requirement for adhesive and soluble stimuli for efficient platelet aggregation will be discussed.