BACKGROUND : The function of platelets have extended way beyond the horizon of haemostasis and thrombosis, and
are recognised as active participants in vascular inflammation, as well as in prothrombotic complications of cardiovascular
diseases. We describe and compare platelet function in type II diabetes (with and without cardiovascular
manifestation) and healthy individuals using scanning electron microscopy and flow cytometry.
METHODS : Thirty subjects were recruited per group and informed consent was obtained from all participants.
Diabetic patients were recruited from the diabetic clinic of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital (South Africa). Blood
samples were drawn from all participants so that platelet specific antigens were analyzed in citrated whole blood.
The platelet parameters used in the study were platelet identifiers (CD41 and CD42) and markers of platelet activation
(CD62 and CD63).
RESULTS : Results show that, compared to healthy individuals, both diabetic groups showed a significant difference
in both platelet identifiers (CD41-PE, CD42b-PE) as well as markers indicating platelet activation (CD62P-PE and
INTERPRETATION : The flow cytometric data shows that the platelet surface receptors and platelet activation are statistically
elevated. This is suggestive of enhanced platelet activation and it appears as if platelets are displaying ‘angry’
behaviour. The lysosomal granules may play a significant role in diabetes with cardiovascular complications. These
results were confirmed by ultrastructural analysis.