Summary Platelets show a rapid reduction in their responsiveness to aggregating agents during storage for transfusion, but little is known about reversal of this defect in vivo after transfusion. In this study, fresh and stored platelets from the same donor (n=12) were labelled with 111In or 51Cr, respectively, mixed, and simultaneously infused. Blood samples were taken for up to 5 d post-infusion, and the functional behaviour of the labelled platelets ex vivo was measured by retention on glass bead columns, and by whole blood aggregability to ADP, epinephrine and ristocetin. Aggregation was determined by filtering aggregated samples through a column of cotton wool to remove the aggregates, and quantitated as per cent decrease in radioactive counts. The study showed that, although infused radiolabelled 5 d stored platelets had a significantly lower aggregability towards ADP and epinephrine immediately (1 h) after infusion (32% and 29%, respectively, of fresh platelet values), a complete restoration to fresh platelet levels was found 24–72 h post-infusion, with no further change observed over the ensuing 5 d with either fresh or stored labelled platelets. A slightly (6–9%) lower adhesion to both uncoated and collagen-coated beads was found for the stored platelets throughout the 5 d period of study post-infusion.

In conclusion, these studies show that, with ex vivo testing, platelets stored for 5 d quickly recovered adhesion and aggregability capabilities similar to that of fresh platelets, suggesting that the functional lesion developed during storage is quickly and completely reversed after infusion.