At about 3 |im, thrombocytes are the smallest of the blood cells. They are created as the megakaryocyte disintegrates (see Fig.309e). Thrombocytes do not have a nucleus. In streaming blood, thrombocytes have the shape of biconcave disks. In vascular endothelium, they attach to damaged structures and in this way seal the vessels. In the process, thrombocytes are activated, change their shape and release secretory products [2, [3. One important sign of this activation is the formation of pseudopodia. The secretory products not only stimulate blood clotting, but also the subsequent processes of inflammation and repair. Electron micrographs usually show thrombocytes as spindle-shaped cells in cross-sections.

1 Peripheral bundle of microtubules

2 a-granules

3 Serotonin-containing granule (dense body)

Electron microscopy; magnification: x 27 600

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