The adhesion of human and rabbit platelets to collagens and collagen-derived fragments immobilized on plastic was investigated. Adhesion appeared to be independent of collagen conformation, since similar attachment occurred to collagen (type I) in monomeric form, as fibres or in denatured state. The adhesion of human platelets was stimulated to a variable degree by Mg2+, but rabbit platelet adhesion showed little if any dependence on this cation. Collagens type I, III, V and VI were all able to support adhesion, although that to collagen type V (native) was lower than that to the other collagens. Adhesion to a series of peptides derived from collagens I and III was measured. Attachment did not require the presence of peptides in triple-helical configuration. The extent of adhesion ranged from relatively high, as good as to the intact parent collagen molecule, to little if any adhesive activity beyond the non-specific (background) level. The existence of very different degrees of activity suggests that platelet adhesion is associated with specific structural sites in the collagen molecule. Adhesion in many instances was essentially in accord with the known platelet-aggregatory activity of individual peptides. However, two peptides, alpha 1(I)CB3 and alpha 1(III)CB1,8,10,2, exhibited good adhesive activity although possessing little if any aggregatory activity. Of particular interest, despite its near-total lack of aggregatory activity, adhesion to peptide alpha 1(I)CB3 was as good as that to the structurally homologous peptide alpha 1(III)CB4, in which is located a highly reactive aggregatory site. This implies that platelet adhesion to collagen may involve sites in the collagen molecule distinct from those more directly associated with aggregation.

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