Human platelets play a vital role in haemostasis, pathological bleeding and thrombosis. The haemostatic mechanism is concerned with the control of bleeding from injured blood vessels, whereby platelets interact with the damaged inner vessel wall to form a clot (thrombus) at the site of injury. This adhesion of platelets and their subsequent aggregation is dependent on the presence of the blood protein von Willebrand Factor (vWF). It is proposed here that the entrapment of vWF on a substrate surface offers the opportunity to assess an individual’s platelet function in a clinical diagnostic context. Spin coating from demixed solutions of polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) onto glass slides has been shown previously to support platelet adhesion but the mechanism by which this interaction occurs, including the role of vWF, is not fully understood. In this work, we report a study of the interaction of platelets in whole blood with surfaces produced by spin coating from a solution of a weight/weight mixture of a 25% PS and 75% PMMA (25PS/75PMMA) in chloroform in the context of the properties required for their use as a Dynamic Platelet Function Assay (DPFA) substrate. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) indicates the presence of topographical features on the polymer demixed surfaces in the sub-micron to nanometer range. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) analysis confirms that the uppermost surface chemistry of the coatings is solely that of PMMA. The deliberate addition of various amounts of 50 μm diameter PS microspheres to the 25PS/75PMMA system has been shown to maintain the PMMA chemistry, but to significantly change the surface topography and to subsequently effect the scale of the resultant platelet interactions. By blocking specific platelet binding sites, it has been shown that their interaction with these surfaces is a consequence of the entrapment and build-up of vWF from the same whole blood sample.
- von Willebrand Factor (vWF); polystyrene/poly(methylmethacrylate) demixed solutions; spin coating; surface topography; Dynamic Platelet Function Assay (DPFA)