← Back to news

New Paper "Impact of high platelet turnover on the platelet transcriptome: Results from platelet RNA-sequencing in patients with sepsis"

Thomas Nührenberg and team published a new paper in PLOS ONE about the "Impact of high platelet turnover on the platelet transcriptome".

Abstract - Background: Sepsis is associated with high platelet turnover and elevated levels of immature platelets. Changes in the platelet transcriptome and the specific impact of immature platelets on the platelet transcriptome remain unclear. Thus, this study sought to address whether and how elevated levels of immature platelets affect the platelet transcriptome in patients with sepsis.

Methods: Blood samples were obtained from patients with sepsis requiring vasopressor therapy (n = 8) and from a control group of patients with stable coronary artery disease and otherwise similar demographic characteristics (n = 8). Immature platelet fraction (IPF) was determined on a Sysmex XE 2100 analyser and platelet function was tested by impedance aggregometry. RNA from leukocyte-depleted platelets was used for transcriptome analysis by Next Generation Sequencing integrating the use of unique molecular identifiers.

Results: IPF (median [interquartile range]) was significantly elevated in sepsis patients (6.4 [5.3-8.7] % vs. 3.6 [2.6-4.6] %, p = 0.005). Platelet function testing revealed no differences in adenosine diphosphate- or thrombin receptor activating peptide-induced platelet aggregation between control and sepsis patients. Putative circular RNA transcripts were decreased in platelets from septic patients. Leukocyte contamination defined by CD45 abundance levels in RNA-sequencing was absent in both groups. Principal component analysis of transcripts showed only partial overlap of clustering with IPF levels. RNA sequencing showed up-regulation of 524 and down-regulation of 118 genes in platelets from sepsis patients compared to controls. Upregulated genes were mostly related to catabolic processes and protein translation. Comparison to published platelet transcriptomes showed a large overlap of changes observed in sepsis and COVID-19 but not with reticulated platelets from healthy donors.

Conclusions: Patients with sepsis appear to have a less degraded platelet transcriptome as indicated by increased levels of immature platelets and decreased levels of putative circular RNA transcripts. The present data suggests that increased protein translation is a characteristic mechanism of systemic inflammation.