List of abbreviations
of micros-
specialist terms
explained in
English +

Every attempt was made to provide correct information and labelling, however any liability for eventual errors or incompleteness is rejected!

dieser Seite

Dr. med.
H. Jastrow

of use
Overview blood platelets (Thrombocyti):
Pages with explanations are linked to the text below the images if available! (Labelling is in German)
human blood platelets in
different orientations
detail 1: cross-sec-
tioned blood platelet
detail 2: cytoplasm
with vesicles
detail 3: cytoplasm
of one blood platelet
detail 4: different
detail 5: other
 aggregation of hu-
man blood platelets
human blood platelets
showing long processes
detail thereof human blood
platelets 1 
human blood
platelets 2
detail: mitochondrium
and vesicles
blood platelets in cross-
and longitudinal section
blood platelets
human blood
platelets 3
vesicles of a human blood
several human
blood platelets
human blood platelet
in freeze fracture
human blood platelet with open canalicular system
and vesicles (freeze etching technique image)
onset of aggregation of
human blood platelets

Platelets (thrombocytes; Terminologia histologica: Thrombocyti) are no complete cells since they lack a nucleus. The dish-like particles have a diameter of 2 - 4 µm and aggregate to each other especially in case of a blood coagulation. In normal human blood about 150,000 - 300,000 thrombocytes are present per mm³If the number is less we speak of a thrombocytopenia. The critical value is about 40,000 since with lower values haemostasis is no longer ensured. The volume of platelets is 5.7 - 8.9 femtolitres (µm³). The thrombocrite (portion of the platelets related to the entire blood volume) is 13.7 - 26.9%; in children up to 45 % increasing with age. Thrombocytes are demarked parts of cytoplasm from megakaryocytes of the red bone marrow. Their average life time is 5 - 10 days. They are removed from blood by phagocytosis performed by macrophages mainly of liver (stellate macrophages, i.e. Kupffer cells) and spleen. Platelets contain free actin as well as a cytoskeleton of actin filaments anchored to the cell membrane. In this context filamin serves to bind it to the cell membrane glycoprotein GPIb-IX and talin for connection to integrin alpha2b-beta3, the fibrinogen receptor. Further, the cytoplasm shows mitochondria of the crista-type and contains myosinalpha-actinin and tropomyosin.
Granulomere (Terminologia histologica: Granulomerus) is the term for the central cytoplasm area of platelets with plenty of vesicles which in the light microscope appear to be granules therefore the incorrect term thrombocytic granules was established in the terminology (Terminologia histologica: Granula thrombocytica). The granulomere further contains some beta-glycogen granules. In Pappenheim's stain this area shows fine blue-purple azurophilic granules. However, the electron microscope without any doubt reveals membrane-bordered vesicles. The granulomere contains different kinds of vesicles with diameters about 200 nm which are classified in more or less electron-dense types:
alpha vesicles (Terminologia histologica: alpha granules; Granula alpha - should be corrected to alpha vesicles; Vesicula alpha). The less electron-dense alpha-vesicles are an inhomogeneous population of vesicles corresponding to lysosomes, peroxisomes and others which all contain factors for blood cell aggregation e.g., platelet factor 4 (antiheparin, a heparin binding chemokine), von-Willebrand factor (vWF)fibronectin, platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), thrombospondin, proaccelerin (factor V), factor VIII, beta-thromboglobuline, kallikrein, alpha2 antiplasmin and fibrinogenThe electron-dense vesicles are rare in human platelets, have a small excentrically located extremely dense core and contain serotonineadenosin diphosphat (ADP), histamine,adrenalinepyrophosphate, calcium ions (Ca++) and adenosin triphosphate (ATP). They are classified as
delta-vesicles (Terminologia histologica: delta granules; dense bodies; Granula deltae - should be corrected to delta vesicles; Vesicula deltae) which are more common or
lambda-vesicles (Terminologia histologica: lambda granules; Granula lambdae - should be corrected to lambda vesicles; Vesicula  lambdae).
Hyalomere (Terminologia histologica: Hyalomerus) is the term for the region bordering the granulomere. The hyalomere contains slightly blue cytosol (in Pappenheim's stain) and a marginal microtubular bundle (Terminologia histologica: Fasciculus microtubularis marginalis) of 10 - 15 microtubules in circular orientation which is responsible for the discoid form of platelets. A protein-sugar layer, the glycocalyx 50 - 150 nm in thickness, is present on the surface membrane of platelets. A unique feature of thrombocytes is the open canalicular system (OCS; Terminologia histologica: Systema canaliculare apertum) with tubules about 50 nm in diameter consisting of tubules of invaginated cell membrane reaching deeply into the cell towards the centre of the granulomere. The tubules are similar to smooth endoplasmic reticulum but are in fact a cell membrane-bordered deep invaginations of the extracellular space 50 nm in diameter. Thus a tiny glycocalyx is present in its lumenA second system of tubules with more electron-dense and less wide lumen termed dense tubular system (Terminologia histologica: Systema tubulare densum) is branching inside the thrombocytes as well. It corresponds to the remnants of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum of the megakaryocyte (from which the platelet originated). It concentrates calcium ions (Ca++) and thrombocyte specific peroxidase as well as enzymes for thromboxan-A2 synthesis in the lumen and plays an important role in activation of platelets.

An English page with further detailed information is available in the professional version of this atlas.

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Some images were kindly provided by PD Dr. Klinger; other images, page & copyright H. Jastrow.