Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Platelet One-eighty

Blood platelets play a key role in the balance between an inflammatory and anti-inflammatory response

23 June 2021

Platelet One-eighty

An immune response to an infectious agent is all about balance. The initial blast of inflammation, as immune cells rush to kill the invader, must be cooled to stop excessive damage to the body’s own tissues. And new research indicates that platelets – small cell fragments that circulate in the blood – are central to both this surge and suppression of immune activity. Early in an infection, platelets (coloured red in this section of bacteria-infected mouse lung) are known to associate with inflammatory neutrophils to promote a strong attack. However, recent studies show that, later in infection, platelets form associations with anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells (Tregs, yellow). This alliance prompts the Tregs to produce signals that dampen the fire. Because failure to calm and resolve inflammation is a feature of many severe diseases, including COVID-19, understanding how platelets switch their allegiance to favour resolution could ultimately lead to therapies that promote it.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.