Platelet Lysate and its Uses in Regenerative Medicine

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Platelet lysate has been of keen interest to many researchers as a potential therapeutic option for various orthopedic conditions. Due to an abundance of growth factors, PL has the potential to accelerate wound healing, slow down osteoarthritis progression, regenerate bones and tendons, and treat alopecia, among many other things. It can even be used for tissue transplantation, cell culture, or cell therapy purposes. 

So what is platelet lysate?

Blood platelets are tiny cell fragments that are found in your blood that contain growth and clotting factors. They are responsible for blood clotting, the immune response, angiogenesis, and wound healing. Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is commonly used in regenerative medicine. It is basically a highly concentrated solution of blood platelets that can be used in regenerative medicine by being injected into injured regions of the body to accelerate the healing process. Platelet lysate is essentially an advanced derivative of PRP. Unlike PRP, which is administered over the course of several months, platelet lysate can be released into the body all at once without causing inflammation. In fact, platelet lysate is anti-inflammatory and can therefore be used around nerves without concern. Platelet lysate is also a great alternative to fetal bovine serum (FBS) and recombinant growth factors in stem cell cultures. It removes the risk of stem cell rejection or transmission of zoonotic diseases because the patient’s own growth factors are basically being extracted and readministered.

How is platelet lysate made?

One cost-effective method to prepare platelet lysate is to freeze red blood cell free PRP (amber PRP) overnight and then thaw it. While thawing the sample, the ice crystals that formed overnight break up the platelets through mechanical disruption and release growth factors into the serum. A small number of platelets will burst the first time around, hence this procedure is repeated three to seven times until minimal platelets remain. Even after multiple cycles of this method, however, not all the platelets will break open. More advanced processes have been developed by companies like Regenexx to decrease the number of remaining platelets. This process of breaking open the platelets is called lysis, hence the term platelet “lysate”. The more platelets that are lysed, the more growth factors will be available in the platelet lysate solution.  

Platelet lysate mechanism of action?

Like PRP, the exact mechanism of action of platelet lysate when used to treat various orthopedic conditions is not well understood because of the lack of substantial research on the topic.  However, it is known that platelet lysate contains numerous cytokines, chemokines, and mitogenic growth factors, including endothelial growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), and fibroblast growth factor (FGF). Each factor signals a different part of the body to stimulate cell growth, tissue repair, inflammation, and cell differentiation. Platelet lysate can be especially useful when used in conjunction with stem cell therapy because all these growth factors can result in a better environment for stem cell growth. Platelet lysate can also be useful in regenerative medicine procedures when targeting inflamed nerves because it is less inflammatory than PRP and still contains helpful growth factors. If PRP were to be injected near an inflamed nerve it could potentially make the inflammation worse resulting in exacerbation of the patient's painful symptoms. 

In Conclusion

All in all, platelet lysate is a promising therapeutic strategy for patients with musculoskeletal diseases as well as various other health issues. Similar to PRP it stimulates cell migration, proliferation, and colony formation, but without the need for several injections over time. Platelet lysate has also been shown to treat small tendon ligament tears, irritated or pinched spinal nerves, and damaged peripheral nerves better than PRP. Deciding between PRP and platelet lysate depends heavily on the patient’s physiology, the medical issue at hand, and any time-dependent factors. Speak to your healthcare provider to see which treatment is suitable for you.

Author: Nawal Panjwani

Edited by Ospina Medical Team

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.