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Studies on platelet dense granule structure were carried out in 20 patients with various types of congenital storage pool deficiency (SPD), including 15 with specific deficiencies of dense granules and dense granule substances (δ-SPD), and five with combined deficiencies of dense and α-granules (αδ-SPD). Dense granules were identified by their high affinity for uranyl ions (uranaffin reaction), by their ability to accumulate the fluorescent dye mepacrine, and by their inherent electron opacity on unfixed, unstained whole mount preparations. By all these methods, dense granules were markedly decreased in seven albino patients with the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) variant of δ-SPD. These findings suggest that the basic defect in these patients is a specific abnormality in organelle development which prevents the formation of an intact granule structure, a quantitative abnormality which may differ from that in animals with related pigment disorders. In contrast, eight non-albino patients with δ-SPD had, on average, only a slightly reduced number of uranaffin-positive and mepacrine-positive granules, but a shift in uranaffin-granule distribution towards those lacking a dense core (‘empty granules’), suggesting a more qualitative type of dense granule defect. These results are consistent with previous evidence suggesting a decreased uptake of ATP across the granule membrane in δ-SPD. In addition, on whole mounts, these patients’platelets contained substantial numbers of electron dense chains and clusters which contained P and Ca, but with a P/Ca ratio less than that of typical dense granules, and which were retained, along with a larger amount of ATP, after thrombin treatment of the platelets. The various findings in these patients raise the possibility that these structures may represent microvesicles, derived from the Golgi apparatus, which provide a transport mechanism for concentrating adenine nucleotides and calcium in dense granules and which is impaired in some patients with SPD. Additional defects may account for the more extensive granule abnormalities observed in αδ-SPD.