Anandamide extends platelets survival through CB1-dependent Akt signaling

Maria Valeria Catani, Valeria Gasperi, Daniela Evangelista, Alessandro Finazzi Agrò, Luciana Avigliano, Mauro MacCarrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Platelets are stored at 22°C, since incubation at 37°C results in loss of viability. Nonetheless, in our body (37°C), platelets survive for 810 days. This discrepancy has been explained in terms of deprivation of viability factors or accumulation of apoptotic factors during storage. We report that the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) may be one of the agents allowing platelet survival. In fact, at 37°C, human platelets enhance the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins (caspases, Bax, Bak) and decrease the expression of Bcl-xL, thus changing the Bcl-xL/Bak ratio, a key platelet biological clock. AEA or its non-hydrolyzable analogue, methanandamide, extend platelet life span, without reversing the changes in Bcl-xL/Bak ratio induced by heat stress. Instead, AEA binding to type-1 cannabinoid receptor activates Akt, which regulates, through phosphorylation of Bad, the interactions among different Bcl-2 family members. These findings could have implications for platelet collection and, potentially, for their clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-610
Number of pages10
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Bak
  • Bcl-xL
  • Cell death
  • Endocannabinoid system
  • Signal transduction
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)


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