4th EUPLAN Conference – Report by Dr Sarah Jones, Manchester Metropolitan University
The European Platelet Network recently hosted the 4th EUPLAN meeting (19th-21st September 2018) in the beautiful city of Bruges, Belgium. The meeting focused on platelets in thrombosis and beyond, with keynote lectures on thrombopoeisis, the role of platelets in inflammation and infection, platelet contributions to Alzheimer’s disease and the potential of platelets as a platform for cancer diagnostics. It was a stimulating meeting with significant contributions from early career researchers and a strong representation from the UK platelet community, with over 40 UK delegates from 14 different institutions.
The meeting opened with a welcome address from chair of the organising committee Prof Hans Deckmyn, before keynote lectures from Dr Emma Lefrançais (University of Toulouse) presenting the highlights from her recent work published in Nature, on platelet production in the lungs, and Dr Dominique Baruch (INSERM UMR-S 1140), who gave an excellent overview of ex-vivo platelet production. The welcome reception then preceded at City Hall, an impressive Gothic building in the heart of Bruges built between 1376 and 1421.
The second day of the meeting started with keynote lectures from Dr Benoit Ho-Tin-Noe (INSERM Unit 1148), who discussed the importance of platelets in preventing bleeding and showed evidence to suggest that platelets are recruited to sites of neutrophil infiltration to repair the gaps in the vascular endothelium. Dr Julie Rayes (University of Birmingham) followed with a keynote lecture on Platelet ITAM receptors and their role in inflammation. Dr Rayes elegantly highlighted the divergent role of GPVI and CLEC-2 in inflammation, despite sharing a common signalling pathway and presented evidence on the beneficial role of impaired vascular integrity in tissue repair.
There were also ten short oral communications including a presentation from Dr Markus Bender (University Hospital Wuerzburg), suggesting that platelet lamellipodia were not required for thrombus stability, stimulating interesting discussion; and Dr Giordano Pula (University of Exeter) describing platelet dependent angiogenesis and repair mechanisms via platelet derived deoxyriobose-1-phosphate.
The day concluded with a keynote lecture from Dr Illaria Cannobio (University of Pavia), summarising her work on the toxicity of amyloid peptides in the circulation and the role of platelets in the link between cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Delegates then had the opportunity to take in the beautiful sights of Bruges with a boat trip along the canals before the conference dinner at the Half Moon Brewery.
The final day of the meeting started with a keynote lecture from Dr Olivier Peyruchaud (INSERM U1033), who presented data demonstrating crosstalk between platelets and cancer cells via cysteinyl leukotrienes (Cys-LKT) and the CystLT1 receptor. This was followed by a keynote from Dr Cecile Oury (University of Liege) who gave an interesting insight into the potential role of platelets in propagating a microenvironment, which drives tumourogenesis through bridging haemostatic and inflammatory signals. Short communications included a presentation from Dr Judith Cosemans (Maastrict University) on the differential effects of PDE3 and -5 on platelet function under haemostatic and inflammatory conditions, and a presentation from Jo Mitchell (University of Reading) on platelet-specific factor XIIIa.
In addition to the oral presentations, vibrant discussions and debates were stimulated in the poster sessions, which were split over two days. There were over 80 posters on display, presenting high quality research on a diverse range of topics including novel diagnostic assays, novel platelet function assays, the impact of antiretroviral therapy on platelet activation, reactive oxygen species production in platelets and hyperlipidaemia and platelet function to name a few.
The meeting was a wonderful celebration of the fantastic and diverse platelet research currently underway across Europe, an ethos that is set to continue with the 5th EUPLAN meeting planned for 2021, in Milan hosted by Prof Marco Cattaneo and Prof Mauro Torti.