We continue with our FBCA series by taking a look at one of the most important components of our blood – the platelets. In part II we spoke of the plasma and briefly addressed the role of platelets in coagulation. Now we will review where platelets come from and take a look at why they are the attention of orthopedic physicians as PRP (platelet rich plasma), in regenerative medicine and treatment of muscle-skeletal disorder.
Produced in the bone marrow, platelets play an important role in blood clotting and to stop bleeding. In contrast to the other components in the blood, platelets are not considered cells. Instead, they are fragments of the largest cell in the bone marrow the megakaryocytes. These cells, the megakaryocytes, are 10 to 15 times larger than red or white blood cells. One reason for their large size is that unlike other cells, these do not go through mitoses. In other words, they do not divide into smaller cells. They just grow. Thus their “mega” status.