Although platelets possess the hallmarks of apoptosis such as activation of caspases, cytochrome c release and depolarisation of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (∆Ψm), their entire apoptotic-signalling pathway is not totally understood. Therefore we studied the expression of various apoptotic proteins and found that platelets contain the pro-apoptotic proteins Omi/HtrA2 and Smac/Diablo, as well as their target the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis XIAP. Omi/HtrA2 and Smac/Diablo were released from mitochondria into the platelet cytosol together with cytochrome c after induction of apoptosis by the Ca2+ ionophore A23187 or the BH3 mimetic ABT-737, and to a lesser extent, after platelet stimulation with collagen and thrombin. Inhibition of Omi/HtrA2 led to decreased levels of activated caspase-3/7 and caspase-9, but did not abolish loss of ∆Ψm or prevent release of Omi/HtrA2 from mitochondria. These results indicate that platelets have a functional intrinsic apoptotic-signalling pathway including the pro-apoptotic protease Omi/HtrA2 and its target protein XIAP.