Characterization of novel platelet and endothelial cell target antigens in a family with genetic susceptibility to autoimmunity



This report describes a French Canadian family whose members exhibit a high incidence of allo- and autoantibodies to antigens present on both platelets and endothelial cells. This is correlated with various HLA specificities known to be associated with autoimmunity, such as A1, B8, DR3, and, in some cases, with clinical disorders, including nephritis, hypertension, and thrombocytopenia. Immunoblot analysis using platelet and endothelial cell lysates showed serum antibodies to a 75 kDa endothelial cell surface polypeptide and to polypeptides with apparent mass of 115 kDa and 26 kDa found on both platelets and endothelial cells. This 115 kDa internal platelet protein was also found in a variety of other cell types, such as mononuclear cells, and increased following cell activation. Monoclonal antibody immunobilization assays were used to characterize the 26 kDa polypeptide; in three of the four patients tested, an antibody to leukocyte differentiation antigen CD9 was identified. The asymptomatic child of the propositus also exhibited an autoantibody against an 80 kDa platelet protein which was sensitive to thrombin digestion, suggesting that this polypeptide may be platelet glycoprotein V. In addition, PIA1 alloantibody was identified in one sister who had given birth to a severely thrombocytopenic boy and who herself had a severe vascular rejection to a cadaver kidney 2 years prior to this study. The propositus also developed hypertensive renal disease following a pregnancy and became dialysis dependent. Thus, members of this family have developed a variety of antibodies, particularly to platelet and endothelial cell antigens. Some subjects have remained asymptomatic in spite of having autoantibodies. However, others have been seriously ill, and their immune response to these antigens is believed to have played a role in the pathogenesis of their neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenic purpura, hypertensive renal disease, renal graft rejection, and thrombocytopenia.