New methods for analysing both platelet and plasma forms of the platelet- specific collagen receptor, glycoprotein VI (GPVI) in experimental models or human clinical samples, and the development of the first therapeutic compounds based on dimeric soluble GPVI-Fc or anti-GPVI antibody-based constructs, coincide with increased understanding of the potential pathophysiological role of GPVI ligand binding and shedding. Platelet GPVI not only mediates platelet activation at the site of vascular injury where collagen is exposed, but is also implicated in the pathogenesis of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis and coagulopathy, rheumatoid arthritis and tumour metastasis. Here, we describe some of the critical mechanisms for generating soluble GPVI from platelets, and future avenues for exploiting this unique platelet-specific receptor for diagnosis and/or disease prevention. A? Schattauer 2012.