Platelets as Modulators of Liver Diseases
12 September 2017 (eFirst)
Platelets are key players in thrombosis and hemostasis. Alterations in platelet count and function are common in liver disease, and may contribute to bleeding or thrombotic complications in liver diseases and during liver surgery. In addition to their hemostatic function, platelets may modulate liver diseases by mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Here, we present clinical evidence for a role of platelets in the progression of chronic and acute liver diseases, including cirrhosis, acute liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. We also present clinical evidence that platelets promote liver regeneration following partial liver resection. Subsequently, we summarize studies in experimental animal models that support these clinical observations, and also highlight studies that are in contrast with clinical observations. The combined results of clinical and experimental studies suggest that platelets may be a therapeutic target in the treatment of liver injury and repair, but the gaps in our understanding of mechanisms involved in platelet-mediated modulation of liver diseases call for caution in clinical application of these findings.