Glycoprotein Ib Clustering In Platelets Can Be Inhibited By Alpha-Linolenic Acid As Revealed By Cryo-Electron Tomography

Simona Stivala, Simona Sorrentino, Sara Gobbato, Nicole R. Bonetti, Giovanni G. Camici, Thomas F. Lüscher, Ohad Medalia, Jürg H. Beer


Platelet adhesion to the sub-endothelial matrix and damaged endothelium occurs through a multi-step process mediated in the initial phase by glycoprotein Ib binding to von Willebrand factor, which leads to the subsequent formation of a platelet plug. The plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid is an abundant alternative to fish-derived n-3 FA and has anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties. In this study, we investigated the impact of alpha-linolenic acid on human platelet binding to vWF under high-shear flow conditions (mimicking blood flow in stenosed arteries). Pre-incubation of fresh human blood from healthy donors with alpha-linolenic acid at dietary relevant concentrations reduced platelet binding and rolling on vWF-coated microchannels at a shear rate of 100 dyn/cm2. Depletion of membrane cholesterol by incubation of platelet-rich-plasma with methyl-beta cyclodextrin abrogated platelet rolling on vWF. Analysis of glycoprotein Ib by applying cryo-electron tomography to intact platelets revealed local clusters of glycoprotein Ib complexes, upon shear-force exposure, whose formation could be prevented by alpha-linolenic acid treatment. This study provides novel findings on the rapid local rearrangement of the glycoprotein Ib complexes in response to high-shear flow and highlights the mechanism of in vitro inhibition of platelet binding to and rolling on vWF by alpha-linolenic acid.