The interaction between platelets and endothelium in vivo is a complex phenomenon. Our aim was to develop an in vitro system that mimics the in vivo environment and investigate platelet function in a common pathological condition. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells were used and platelets from 28 type 2 diabetes patients were studied under shear stress conditions. Mean coefficient of variation of platelet aggregation was 10% in dynamic conditions in the presence of endothelium. Endothelial cells increased the concentration of inductor needed to achieve 50% platelet aggregation to adenosine diphosphate from 2.6 ± 1.3 in static conditions to 3.7 ± 1.3 µM in dynamic conditions. A similar pattern was observed when collagen was used for platelet activation. Incubation of endothelium with a nitric oxide inhibitor abolished this effect, indicating platelet inhibitory effect of endothelial cells is nitric oxide mediated. Platelet reactivity of healthy controls was less influenced by the presence of endothelial cells and displayed reduced basal platelet reactivity compared with platelets from diabetes patients. We show that platelet aggregation in diabetes as commonly reported in vitro may not fully reflect the in vivo pathophysiological process. Future studies are warranted to investigate other pathological conditions and analyse the effects of antiplatelet agents using this system
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