Project Title

Platelet metabolite profiles in chronic diseases.

Project Summary

The research programme proposes to investigate the platelet metabolome in various disease settings, to discover unique signalling markers or pathways that may be utilised as novel markers or targets for therapeutic intervention. The majority of blood-based diagnostics are centred on examinations of serum or plasma, which overlook potentially important changes within blood cells. 

To date, the platelet metabolic profiles have yet to be fully explored as a source of data for biomarker discovery. Platelets are an abundant population of small anucleate blood cells in the circulation, which can easily be isolated during a routine blood draw. Contained within platelets are thousands of bioactive molecules that originate from their bone marrow precursor cells, the megakaryocytes, or are sequestered from the surroundings by the platelets themselves.

Current accumulating evidence suggests platelets can be modulated or “educated” by their environment (e.g. tumour or infection) to exhibit distinct proteomic and RNA profiles, which can alter normal platelet function and interaction with other cells. These changes have the potential to augment disease severity and generate complications significantly.

Highlighting platelets as a potential source for biomarker discovery are recent studies demonstrating substantially different platelet lipid, protein and RNA expressions from patients with symptomatic coronary artery disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, compared to that of matched healthy individuals. While important, the cellular proteome and transcriptome landscapes are not always an exact reflection of the physiological and pathological conditions of patients.

Metabolomics offers a unique advantage by providing an expansive view of the biological system through the systematic characterisation of the products of cellular reactions, i.e. metabolites. Metabolites are small-molecule substrates and products – eg. fats, sugars and amino acids - of physiological metabolism which are integral in regulating biological processes, including cell signalling, growth, stimulatory and inhibitory functions. Essentially, metabolomics is a functional readout of the state of an organism, a summation of its genomics, proteomics, and external factors (eg. diet, medications, and environmental stress).

The programme plans to utilise our expertise in platelet biology and the state-of-the-art metabolomics facility at Murdoch University to generate metabolic fingerprints that are disease specific.

Blood Disorder

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancer
  • Dementia

Patient Recruitment Details

Patient recruitment status: Not commenced

Number of Patients

To be confirmed.

Supporting Organisations

To be confirmed.