Aggregation and adhesion of platelets to the vascular wall are shear-dependent processes that play critical roles in hemostasis and thrombosis at vascular injury sites. In this study, we designed a simple and rapid assay of platelet aggregation and adhesion in a microfluidic system. A shearing mechanism using a rotating stirrer provided adjustable shear rate and shearing time and induced platelet activation. When sheared blood was driven through the microchannel under vacuum pressure, shear-activated platelets adhered to a collagen-coated surface, causing blood flow to significantly slow and eventually stop. To measure platelet adhesion and aggregation, the migration distance (MD) of blood through the microchannel was monitored. As the microstirrer speed increased, MD initially decreased exponentially but then increased beyond a critical rpm. For platelet-excluded blood samples, there were no changes in MD with increasing stirrer speed. These findings imply that the stirrer provided sufficiently high shear to activate platelets and that blood MD is a potentially valuable index for measuring the shear-dependence of platelet activation. Our microfluidic system is quick and simple, while providing a precise assay to measure the effects of shear on platelet aggregation and adhesion.

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