goda@chem.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp +81-3-5841-4329

Platelets are highly multifunctional, anucleate cells in blood that are derived from megakaryocytes in the bone marrow. Their primary function is to stop bleeding via hemostatic reactions that elicit the formation of clots. Specifically, the activity of platelets is regulated by various stimuli, which bind to different receptors on the surface of platelets that trigger a series of downstream events to induce their structural and functional changes and initiate hemostasis, which is a highly complicated process involving a vast number of surface receptors and agonists. In parallel with the activation of platelets, coagulation cascades involving blood cells and endothelial cells are triggered by tissue factor, leading to fibrin formation from fibrinogen via thrombin. By directly or indirectly interacting with themselves or other types of cells (e.g., leukocytes, vascular endothelial cells) through diverse mechanisms, platelets are also involved in pathological processes such as thrombosis, atherosclerosis, inflammation, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, tumor growth, cancer metastasis, and COVID-19. Also, platelets are known to protect circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from shear forces and cytolysis by natural killer cells by encasing CTCs in thrombi.

Technological advances in image-based platelet analysis or platelet morphometry are critical for a better understanding of these complex physiological and pathological functions of platelets as well as for the development of better clinical strategies in medical practice. Recently, in collaboration with clinicians at the University of Tokyo Hospital, we have developed an innovative tool based on high-throughput optical imaging and deep learning to boost platelet morphometry to the next level by providing a new set of capabilities beyond what is achievable with traditional platelet morphometry, shedding light on the unexplored domain of platelet analysis. This new field which we call "intelligent platelet morphometry" is expected to pave the way for a new class of diagnostics, pharmacometrics, and therapeutics.


References


Intelligent Platelet Morphometry