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Mechanobiology of platelets: techniques to study the role of fluid flow and platelet retraction forces at the micro- and nano-scale.

Coagulation involves a complex set of events that are important in maintaining hemostasis. Biochemical interactions are classically known to regulate the hemostatic process, but recent evidence has revealed that mechanical interactions between platelets and their surroundings can also play a substantial role. Investigations into platelet mechanobiology have been challenging however, due to the small dimensions of platelets and their glycoprotein receptors. Platelet researchers have recently turned to microfabricated devices to control these physical, nanometer-scale interactions with a higher degree of precision. These approaches have enabled exciting, new insights into the molecular and biomechanical factors that affect platelets in clot formation. In this review, we highlight the new tools used to understand platelet mechanobiology and the roles of adhesion, shear flow, and retraction forces in clot formation.

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