Introduction Platelet function testing with flow cytometry has additional value to existing platelet function testing for diagnosing bleeding disorders, monitoring anti-platelet therapy, transfusion medicine and prediction of thrombosis. The major challenge is to use this technique as a diagnostic test. The aim of this study is to standardize preparation, optimization and validation of the test kit and to determine reference values in a population of 129 healthy individuals. Methods Platelet function tests with 3 agonists and antibodies against P-selectin, activated alpha IIb beta 3 and glycoprotein Ib (GPIb), were prepared and stored at -20 degrees C until used. Diluted whole blood was added and platelet activation was quantified by the density of activation markers, using flow cytometry. Anti-mouse Ig. particles were included to validate stability of the test and to standardize results. Reference intervals were determined. Results Blood stored at room temperature (RT) for up to 4h after blood donation and preheated/tested at 37 degrees C resulted in stable results (%CV<10%), in contrast to measuring at RT. The intra-assay % CV was <5%. Incubation of anti-mouse Ig. particles with antibodies stored for up to 12 months proved to give a stable fluorescence. The inter-individual variation measured in the 129 individuals varied between 23% and 37% for P-selectin expression and alpha IIb beta 3 activation, respectively. Conclusions The current study contributes to the translation of flow cytometry based platelet function testing from a scientific tool to a diagnostic test. Platelet function measurements, using prepared and stored platelet activation kits, are reproducible if executed at 37 degrees C. The reference ranges can be validated in clinical laboratories and ongoing studies are investigating if reduced platelet reactivity in patients with bleeding complications can be detected.
- GPIIB-IIIA ACTIVATION