Mean platelet volume is the measurement of the average size of platelets. Platelets are a component of the blood which have an important role in the clotting process. MPV is a good marker to assess the function of platelets.
Platelets are known as anucleate cells, that is they have no nucleus, and circulate in the blood searching for defects in structural integrity. In other words, if there is a wound then the platelets will work together to naturally stem the bleed and clot the blood..
Platelets naturally circulate in the blood. When an injury occurs causing a blood vessel wall to break, the platelets become activated and can begin to seal the wound. When inactivated, platelets are circular in shape, but then they are activated they change to a spiky shape. This change in shape allows them to stick to the broken vessel and each other enabling to plug the hole. Another protein found in the blood called fibrin interacts with the platelets to help seal the wound. Fibrin helps to form a net which traps more activated, circulating platelets and other red blood cells to produce a clot which seals the wound.
Due to their clotting properties, however, platelets have been shown to produce clots in disease vessels too (known as thrombosis). Platelet activation also provides a link between the development of disease which is predisposed to inflammation and thrombosis. Therefore, MPV can be used as a prognostic and therapeutic marker for such diseases.
Usually, young platelets are larger than older ones. The higher the mean platelet volume the larger the average platelet size. Platelet volume levels have been associated with diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. As such, platelets can increase the incidence of occlusive vascular disease.
High mean platelet volume can be caused by:
Some studies have identified that vitamin D deficiency could be associated with high MPV. Vitamin D deficiency has the potential to increase cardiac events and increases the release of proinflammatory cytokines. As well as this, vitamin D deficiency can interfere with anticoagulant balance in the blood which can result in an increased MPV.
Low mean platelet volume can be an indication of:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting a sufficient amount of exercise can help to keep you healthy.
Iron is essential for the health of red blood cells. Red blood cells play a key role in the initial plugging of a wound alongside platelets. Good sources of dietary iron include:
Plant-based sources of iron such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seed, pulses and fortified cereals may be absorbed better in the presence of vitamin C. Try eating fortified breakfast cereals alongside a glass of orange juice or swap chips for a jacket potato with a side of green leafy veg – be sure to eat the skin of the potato.
You should also refrain from drinking tea with your meals as this can affect iron absorption. Instead, you should drink it between meals to ensure you absorb iron effectively.
A high MPV could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Most of our vitamin D comes from the sun. So, you should spend some time outdoors to ensure you get enough, particularly in the summer months. However, in the UK more than half of the adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D and around 16% have a severe vitamin D deficiency during the winter months. Therefore, most of the UK population are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. This can be prevented through supplementation. Public Health England recommends that all adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D. This may be solely a vitamin D supplement or a daily supplement but should contain at least 10mcg of vitamin D.
Haemostasis or the body’s normal ability to respond to bleeding or haemorrhage. Research has shown that haemostasis is involved in the benefits gained from physical exercise. MPV could be a predictor of endurance performance in long-duration exercise.
Physical activity is preventative against cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. But exercise leads to temporary activation on the thrombotic system. In healthy individuals, there is an increase in fibrin activity. However, in people who have heart disease, their fibrin activity is compromised. Therefore, they should seek medical advice before attempting strenuous physical exertion.
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 Cure, M, C., Cure, E., Yuce, S., Yazici, T., Karakoyun, I and E, H. (2014). Mean Platelet Volume and Vitamin D Level. Annals of Laboratory Medicine: 34(2), pp 98-103.
 British Dietetic Association. (2017). Food Fact Sheet: Iron. Available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/iron_food_fact_sheet.pdf
 Lane, D, J, R and Richardson, D, R. (2014). The Active Role of Vitamin C in Mammalian Iron Metabolism: Much More than Just Enhanced Iron Absorption. Free Radical Biology and Medicine: 75, pp 69-83.
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 National Health Service. (2016). The New Guidelines on Vitamin D – What You Need to Know. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/the-new-guidelines-on-vitamin-d-what-you-need-to-know/
 Alis, R., Sanchis-Gomar, F., Risso-Ballester, J., Blesa, J, R and Romagnoli, M. (2015). Effect of Training Status on the Changes in Platelet Parameters Indued by Short-Duration Exhaustive Exercise. Platelets: 27(2), pp 117-122.
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