Platelets play a complex role in hemostasis and thrombosis. The expression of multiple membrane receptors, both constitutive and activation-dependent, mediates platelet adhesion and aggregation at sites of vascular lesion. Platelet activation leads to exocytosis of granular constituents, release of newly synthesized mediators, and discharge of membrane- bound transcellular signaling molecules. Many of the same mechanisms that play a role in hemostasis and thrombosis facilitate platelet participation in other physiological or pathological processes including inflammation, malignancy and the immune response. Platelet receptors such as GPIb/IX/V, P-selectin, P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1, CD40 and the αIIbβ3 integrin, crucial to hemostasis, have been implicated in the progression of such inflammatory conditions as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, in the progression and metastatic spread of malignancies, and in the immune response to bacterial challenge. The release of platelet granular contents, including adhesive proteins, growth factors and chemokines/cytokines, that serve to facilitate hemostasis and wound repair, also function in acute and chronic inflammatory disease and in tumor cell activation and growth. Platelets contribute to host defence as they recognise bacteria, recruit traditional immune cells to the site of infection and secrete bactericidal mediators. The primary focus of this review is the “non-haemostatic” functions of platelets in physiological and pathological states.