Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is characterized by a rapid increase in circulating platelet size but the mechanism for this is unclear. Large platelets are hyperactive and associated with adverse clinical outcomes. We determined mean platelet volume (MPV) and platelet–monocyte conjugation (PMC) using blood samples from patients, and blood and the spleen from mice with AMI. We further measured changes in platelet size, PMC, cardiac and splenic contents of platelets and leucocyte infiltration into the mouse heart. In AMI patients, circulating MPV and PMC increased at 1–3 h post-MI and MPV returned to reference levels within 24 h after admission. In mice with MI, increases in platelet size and PMC became evident within 12 h and were sustained up to 72 h. Splenic platelets are bigger than circulating platelets in normal or infarct mice. At 24 h post-MI, splenic platelet storage was halved whereas cardiac platelets increased by 4-fold. Splenectomy attenuated all changes observed in the blood, reduced leucocyte and platelet accumulation in the infarct myocardium, limited infarct size and alleviated cardiac dilatation and dysfunction. AMI-induced elevated circulating levels of adenosine diphosphate and catecholamines in both human and the mouse, which may trigger splenic platelet release. Pharmacological inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme, β1-adrenergic receptor or platelet P2Y12 receptor reduced platelet abundance in the murine infarct myocardium albeit having diverse effects on platelet size and PMC. In conclusion, AMI evokes release of splenic platelets, which contributes to the increase in platelet size and PMC and facilitates myocardial accumulation of platelets and leucocytes, thereby promoting post-infarct inflammation.

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