Platelets: an outlook from biology through evidence-based achievements in critical care
Since the original observations by Bizzozero and Osler, we have seen tremendous advances in the understanding of platelets far beyond haemostasis and the restoration of injured endothelium. In this mini-review on platelets, we will briefly outline their historical description and the importance of their evolution, focusing on a 450 million years old living fossil of Limulus polyphemus, a marine chelicerate arthropod, which helped researchers explain the basis for the immunity role of platelets and make correlations with platelet ultrastructure and function. In addition, the impact of the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate (LAL) test for modern medicine is highlighted. The role of platelets in cardiovascular diseases, their relevance in arterial and venous thrombosis, and the utilization of antithrombotic drugs as therapeutic agents are also reported. Furthermore, platelet receptors are crucial in aggravating or mitigating other diseases, such as cancer and infections, which can recruit cells and have numerous interactions in a process recently coined “NETosis formation”, which is also briefly depicted.