It is week 7 on the live blood analysis training course and we are studying thrombocytes (platelets) and what happens when they aggregate (form clots)
Thrombocytes are irregularly-shaped cells that do not have nuclei and are much smaller than red blood cells. They are typically 2-3 µm in diameter and have an average lifespan in the circulation of 8 to 12 days. They can be seen clearly in live blood analysis, darkfield microscopy.
Thrombocytes are formed in the bone marrow where they bud off from megakaryocytes.
Thrombocytes are probably the most important elements of haemostasis (the control of blood loss through blood clotting).
The number of thrombocytes in circulation is a vital determining factor in a person’s tendency to thrombosis (clotting) or haemorrhage (bleeding). If the number is too low (thrombocytopenia), bleeding can occur, whereas an abnormally high number of thrombocytes (thrombocytosis) may lead to thrombosis (blood clots).
Thrombocytes also release a variety of growth factors that play an important role in the healing of damaged tissue.
Thrombocytes are an important part of the clotting mechanism. These tiny structures circulate through the body in an inactive state. When they are inactive they are disc shaped and repel each other, but when they become activated they assume a star-like shape and enmesh with each other (and fibrin) to form a clot. (Thrombocyte aggregation in live blood analysis).