A new cellular mechanism, called the endocycle, encourages the formation of platelets, the cells needed to coagulate blood. In mouse models, endocycles can help to control thrombocytopenia, a disease caused by a deficit in platelet production that causes heavy haemorrhaging. The new process could act as an alternative source of platelets when the normal mechanisms fail.
The identification of this new way of generating platelets is not just simple scientific curiosity, but it could have medical applications: "We immediately asked ourselves if by reprogramming the cell cycle towards endocycles we could correct the thrombocytopenia induced in other models," says Malumbres. To that end, his group, working together with Juan Méndez, Sagrario Ortega and Mariano Barbacid's CNIO groups, eliminated Cdk1 in mice with severe thrombocytopenia. The loss of Cdk1 was able to increase the number of platelets and reduce thrombocytopenia in these animal models.
A new blood platelet formation mechanism discovered