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Improving Restorative Surgery -- with Platelets

Nov 16, 2015 1:00:45 PM / by Maria

 Not just for clotting blood: Platelets play a powerful role in augmenting fat grafts after transplantation. Image credit: are ideal for restorative surgery, but retention is a problem. HemaCare provided the platelets for a study examining just how platelet-rich plasma helps make the fat stick around.

In this age of crash diets and liposuction, it might sound surprising that some people receive fat transplants. But seriously, fat grafting is widely used and valued as a feasible method for addressing moderate defects caused by injuries, surgical removal of tumors, and congenital deficiencies. Fat grafting is safe and has the look and feel of normal soft tissue. However, long-term volume retention is suboptimal (30-70%), often requiring multiple surgeries.

Scientists have been developing procedures in which fat is combined with populations of cells that are expected to enhance cell proliferation. One approach is to use platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is known to contain a number of growth factors. The role of PRP is not fully understood.

Researchers acquired PRP grade concentrated platelets from HemaCare. They observed that PRP significantly boosted the proliferation of adipose-derived stem cells (ASC), even in the presence of media that promotes adipogenesis, the differentiation of fat cells. On the other hand, PRP inhibited adipogenesis in adipogenic media. The authors propose that PRP modulates ASC function by enhancing cell proliferation. The effect on adipogenesis is not as clear.

The enhancement of ASC proliferation occurred at all dose levels tested and was likely mediated by suppression of fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 and bone morphogenic protein receptor IA. A mechanism of PRP's effects is suggested in that, first, PRPs augment the population of ASCs. Later, PRPs are resorbed in the body, at which point the ASCs can then differentiate.

HemaCare is proud to have supplied the platelets that were key to illuminating the ways in which platelet-rich plasma enhances fat graft survival. Platelets are collected in HemaCare's FDA-registered collection center from healthy donors. We also provide pooled platelets from whole blood by request.


1. Liao, HT et al. The effects of platelet-rich plasma on cell proliferation and adipogenic potential of adipose-derived stem cells. (2015) Tissue Engineering A. doi:10.1089/ten.TEA.2015.0159

Topics: Platelets, Stem Cells, Plasma


Written by Maria

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