Platelet response to glycerol gradient was studied using a few in vitro parameters. These were platelet count, mean platelet size, platelet response to hypotonic stress (PHRS), and collagen-induced platelet aggregation. An equal volume of 1-10% (w/v) glycerol in plasma was added at once to the platelet concentrate resulting in 0.5-5% (w/v) final glycerol concentration. The concentrate was kept at 22 degrees C for 60 min. Platelets were then separated by one centrifugation and resuspended in glycerol-free plasma. A loss in platelet count was observed when the gradient of glycerol was more than 3%. This was associated with an increase in mean cell size and a reduction in aggregability. With 5% glycerol stress, a loss of 30% in cell count, an increase in 18% in cell size, and a 78% loss in aggregability was observed. Declining of PRHS was shown already with a 1% glycerol gradient and 69% of this function was suppressed by 5% glycerol stress. In other experiments, 5% glycerol was first added, them removed in 5 steps with a gradient of 1% each. When time interval between each step was less than 0.5 min, platelet loss and PRHS reduction were 17 and 47% respectively. These values were gradually improved to 4% and 11-20%, respectively, as increasing time interval up to 15 min. It was concluded that a gradient of 1% glycerol and a 15-min interval for each step minimizes the detrimental osmotic stress on platelets while glycerol is added or removed. Our findings may lead up to devising an improved protocol for platelet cryopreservation with glycerol.