Circulating blood platelets contain small numbers of fully functional mitochondria. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that these mitochondria regulate the pro-thrombotic function of platelets through not only energy generation, but also redox signalling and the initiation of apoptosis. Beyond its regulation of haemostasis, platelet mitochondrial function has also traditionally been used to identify and study mitochondrial dysfunction in human disease, owing to the easy accessibility of platelets compared with other metabolically active tissues. In the present article, we provide a brief overview of what is currently known about the function of mitochondria in platelets and review how platelet mitochondria have been used to study mitochondrial function in human disease.

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