Activated platelets are key components in many arterial disorders. P-selectin is an activation-dependent platelet receptor, which is also identified in endothelial cells. Together with E-and L-selectin it constitutes the selectin family. These transmembrane proteins have continued to attract great interest as they support rapid and reversible cell adhesion in flow systems and thus play an essential role in multicellular interactions during thrombosis and inflammation. Similarly to other lectins, selectins bind to different glycoconjugates with varying affinities. Protein ligands, equipped with the appropriate carbohydrate and sulfate moieties for P-selectin binding, have been identified in normal peripheral blood leukocytes and several non-hematopoietic organs, as well as on cancer cells. For diagnostic purposes, P-selectin can readily be detected on the platelet surface by flow cytometry and by ELISA as a soluble ligand in the plasma. Along with other markers, these data can be used in the assessment of platelet activation status. Such results bear clinical significance since P-selectin has been implicated in the pathogenesis of widespread disorders including coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and malignancy.
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