• coagulation;
  • platelet;
  • vascular endothelial growth factor;
  • wound healing

Summary. Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an endothelial cell-specific potent mitogen that induces angiogenesis and microvascular hyperpermeability. Recently, it has been reported that megakaryocytes and platelets contain VEGF in their cytoplasm. Objectives: To elucidate and confirm the bioactivity and role of VEGF in platelets (platelet VEGF), which may be closely related to vascular thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Methods: The VEGF localization in megakaryocytes on bone marrow smears was analyzed by immunofluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopic analysis. The intracellular VEGF expressed in platelets was determined by flow cytometric analysis. Platelet-rich plasma and washed platelets were used to analyze the secretion of VEGF during platelet aggregation by thrombin or gelatinase A (matrix metalloproteinase-2) stimulation. Immunohistochemical studies for VEGF in the thrombotic region were performed. Results and conclusions: Megakaryocytes and platelets are a very rich source of circulating VEGF. Gelatinase A, which is closely associated with vascular remodeling, enhances the VEGF levels released from platelets. VEGF was clearly detected in the fibrin nets of a thrombus. Taken together, platelet VEGF is bioactive as a direct angiogenic growth factor, and may play a very important role in wound healing and atherosclerosis in conjunction with other platelet cytokines such as platelet-derived growth factor, platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor, transforming growth factor (TGF)-α, and TGF-β.