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Keywords:

  • antibody formation;
  • megakaryocytes;
  • therapeutics;
  • thrombosis;
  • thrombocytopenia

Abstract

Immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is characterized by destruction of circulating platelets and the presence of antiplatelet antibodies. Many of the current immunomodulatory therapies act by reducing platelet destruction and usually do not have a lasting effect. This prospective, exploratory study characterized patients with ITP by identifying their demographic and comorbid clinical factors, use of treatments, serologic markers of autoimmunity, and possible relationships between platelet counts, concentrations of endogenous thrombopoietin (eTPO), and the presence of circulating anti-TPO antibodies. Data including medical history and laboratory evaluations were collected at a single patient visit on 205 patients (19 children, 186 adults). Reported histories revealed a 5% rate of thrombotic/ischemic events. Autoimmune markers including direct antiglobulin test and antinuclear antibodies were found more frequently than in the normal population; antiplatelet antibody testing was not done. eTPO concentrations were comparable to concentrations found in healthy volunteers. Our study confirmed that no significant inverse correlation occurred between circulating concentrations of eTPO and platelet counts in patients with ITP (Spearman r = −0.15). Two of the 205 patients tested (1%) had neutralizing activity of recombinant human TPO in a biological assay; however, this activity was confirmed to be anti-TPO antibody in only 1 patient. Am. J. Hematol. 76:205–213, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.