When the endothelium is damaged, the normally isolated, underlying collagen is exposed to circulating platelets, which bind directly to collagen with collagen-specific glycoprotein Ia/IIa surface receptors. This adhesion is strengthened further by von Willebrand factor (vWF), which is released from the endothelium and from platelets; vWF forms additional links between the platelets' glycoprotein Ib/IX/V and A1 domain. This localization of platelets to the extracellular matrix promotes collagen interaction with platelet glycoprotein VI. Binding of collagen to glycoprotein VI triggers a signaling cascade that results in activation of platelet integrins. Activated integrins mediate tight binding of platelets to the extracellular matrix. This process adheres platelets to the site of injury.
Activated platelets release the contents of stored granules into the blood plasma. The granules include ADP, serotonin, platelet-activating factor (PAF), vWF, platelet factor 4, and thromboxane A2 (TXA2), which, in turn, activate additional platelets. The activated platelets change shape from spherical to stellate, and the fibrinogen cross-links with glycoprotein IIb/IIIa aid in aggregation of adjacent platelets (completing primary hemostasis).
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