Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets.
As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains (and releases through degranulation) several different growth factors and other cytokines that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue. The efficacy of certain growth factors in healing various injuries and the concentrations of these growth factors found within PRP are the theoretical basis for the use of PRP in tissue repair. The platelets collected in PRP are activated by the addition of thrombin and calcium chloride, which induces the release of these factors from alpha granules. The growth factors and other cytokines present in PRP include:
- Platelet-derived growth factor
- Transforming growth factor beta
- Fibroblast growth factor
- Insulin-like growth factor 1
- Insulin-like growth factor 2
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Epidermal growth factor
- Interleukin 8
- Keratinocyte growth factor
- Connective tissue growth factor
There are, at present, two methods of PRP preparation approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Both processes involve the collection of whole blood that is anticoagulated (with citrate dextrose) before undergoing two stages of centrifugation designed to separate the PRP aliquot from platelet-poor plasma and red blood cells. In humans, the typical baseline blood platelet count is approximately 200,000 per µL; therapeutic PRP concentrates the platelets by roughly five-fold. There is however broad variability in the production of PRP by various concentrating equipment and techniques.
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