Platelets Mediate Host Defense against Staphylococcus aureus through Direct Bactericidal Activity and by Enhancing Macrophage Activities Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Ali, R A; Wuescher, Leah M; Dona, Keith R; Worth, Randall G


  • Platelets are the chief effector cells in hemostasis. However, recent evidence suggests they have multiple roles in host defense against infection. Reports by us and others showed that platelets functionally contribute to protection against Staphylococcus aureus infection. In the current study, the capacity of mouse platelets to participate in host defense against S. aureus infection was determined by assessing two possibilities. First, we determined the ability of platelets to kill S. aureus directly; and, second, we tested the possibility that platelets enhance macrophage phagocytosis and intracellular killing of S. aureus In this study we report evidence in support of both mechanisms. Platelets effectively killed two different strains of S. aureus. A clinical isolate of methicillin-resistant S. aureus was killed by platelets (>40% killing in 2 h) in a thrombin-dependent manner whereas a methicillin-sensitive strain was killed to equal extent but did not require thrombin. Interestingly, thrombin-stimulated platelets also significantly enhanced peritoneal macrophage phagocytosis of both methicillin-resistant S. aureus and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus by >70%, and restricted intracellular growth by >40%. Enhancement of macrophage anti-S. aureus activities is independent of contact with platelets but is mediated through releasable products, namely IL-1β. These data confirm our hypothesis that platelets participate in host defense against S. aureus both through direct killing of S. aureus and enhancing the antimicrobial function of macrophages in protection against S. aureus infection.


publication date

  • 2017

start page

  • 344

end page

  • 351


  • 198