Blood platelets are playing a key role in maintaining the integrity of the vascular system or haemostasis, however they can become detrimental when activated at sites of e.g. atherosclerosis, potentially leading to thrombosis or occlusion with devastating effects. To prevent this, a number of antiplatelet agents is currently used in the clinic. However, all antiplatelet agents are accompanied with an increased risk of bleeding, and hence the search for better and safer compounds is ongoing. In this effort, a good understanding of the biochemistry of platelet activation is of primordial importance. In the present review, we intend to bring together the current knowledge on platelet behaviour in thrombosis and haemostasis in a coherent manner by subdividing the entire process into different steps: platelet adhesion, activation, amplification, aggregation, shape change and clot retraction, as well as inhibition of platelet activation and aggregation.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(6):240-5)