Role of blood platelets in infection and inflammation

Matthias H.F. Klinger, Wolfgang Jelkmann*

*Corresponding author for this work
360 Citations (Scopus)


Blood platelets are here presented as active players in antimicrobial host defense and the induction of inflammation and tissue repair in addition to their participation in hemostasis. Megakaryopoiesis is inhibited after acute infection with viruses or bacteria. In contrast, chronic inflammation is often associated with reactive thrombocytosis. Platelets can bind and internalize pathogens and release microbicidal proteins that kill certain bacteria and fungi. By making cell-cell contacts with leukocytes and endothelial cells, platelets assist white blood cells in rolling, arrest and transmigration. On stimulation by bacteria or thrombin, platelets release the content of their α-granules, which include an arsenal of bioactive peptides, such as CC-chemokines and CXC-chemokines and growth factors for endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. Thus, integral to innate immunity, the tiny little platelets may become bombshells when irritated by pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)913-922
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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