What Is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet Rich Plasma is a concentrated form of blood that has 5-10 times the number of normal platelets. Blood is made mostly of a liquid substance called plasma with a variety of different suspended solid particles including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells contain the oxygen particles that are delivered to the tissues of the body. White blood cells serve an important role as the immune system’s front-line defense of foreign invaders. Last, there are platelets which have an irreplaceable role in the clotting and healing of different injuries. Platelets are composed of hundreds of special proteins called growth factors. These proteins signal specific cells to proliferate, differentiate, or encourage tissue regeneration.
How Is PRP Made?
To produce platelet rich plasma, an individual only has to donate a small amount of blood. That sample is placed in a test tube and is then subjected to double centrifugation(gravity separation utilizing centripetal force), a process that separates platelets from other types of blood cells and allows them to be collected at a high concentration. The first spin separates whole blood into three sections with the platelets at the top, white blood cells in the middle and red blood cells at the bottom. From here, the platelets are collected in a new tube and spun again which then separates the sample into ⅔ rds of platelet poor plasma that is discarded and ⅓ rd PRP. Since the concentration of platelets increased, there is also a greater concentration of growth factors.
What Happens Once PRP Is Injected?
The final curated form of platelets are then reintroduced to the affected area of the body and allow growth factors to identify and bind to target cells such as mesenchymal cells, osteoblasts, fibroblasts, or other agonist cells (cells that activate signaling pathways to start healing). The increased number of growth factors within the affected area allows binding to proceed at a greater rate and activate intracellular signaling pathways that cause receptor cells to speed up cell proliferation(production of new cells) and, in turn, tissue healing.
Mesenchymal cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections are two of the most innovative and revolutionary treatments for chronic pain. For patients with the most severe chronic conditions, combining both procedures can consistently provides better outcomes.
Let us repeat, platelet-rich plasma can be used as a supplemental treatment for mesenchymal cell treatment. High concentration platelets contained in PRP have different growth factors that allow the injection to treat a variety of conditions. Combining these cells with mesenchymal cells allows the platelets to guide the mesenchymal cells in their differentiation. Growth factors contained in PRP are able to help identify and bind to mesenchymal cells and potentially direct them to differentiate into specific types of cells like a chondrocyte or adipocyte. Without PRP therapy, growth factors bind to mesenchymal cells much slower and, as a result, possess less potent healing abilities.
Without assistance from PRP therapy, damaged tissue is unable to receive many of the necessary nutrients and cells needed to encourage proliferation. Especially in joints that have suffered a significant amount of damage and degeneration, the added plasma may be necessary, even with the healing capabilities of mesenchymal cells. In these joints, injected mesenchymal cells signal the local healing and inflammatory cells to begin the body's typical immune system response. Blood plasma around the injury transfers nutrients and growth factors to encourage the production of specific cells. However, the normal levels of platelets in plasma are often insufficient for severe injuries and require the extra boost from PRP injections. Once the growth factors are added, they can find target cells such as the mesenchymal cell and signal them to differentiate into the most needed cells and continue to provide nutrients for sustained proliferation.
Speak to our top Minnesota regenerative medicine doctors today and find out if PRP treatment combined with mesenchymal cell therapy is right for you!