Reticulated platelet counts correlate with treatment response in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and help identify the complex causes of thrombocytopenia in patients after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation




In thrombocytopenic conditions of unknown origin, quantification of reticulated platelets (RP) in the peripheral blood by flow cytometry has been shown to differentiate increased platelet (Plt) turnover from insufficient Plt production.


We used a whole blood flow cytometry method combining thiazole orange and anti-CD41a-staining to assess RP in 71 healthy subjects, six with thrombocytopenic myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), nine with liver cirrhosis, 14 patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), and 12 patients who had undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).


Patients with MDS had normal, patients with liver cirrhosis had slightly elevated RP counts compared to healthy subjects. ITP patients had elevated RP counts, and RP >15% were associated with treatment response (P = 0.015). In 7/10 patients after HSCT, an increase of RP preceded Plt recovery, whereas in patients with secondary thrombocytopenia after normal regeneration, the assessment of RP allowed the differentiation between conditions with high Plt turnover, such as GvHD and microangiopathy, indicated by high RP counts, and graft failure, indicated by low RP counts.


Our data provide the rationale for prospective studies on the diagnostic and prognostic value of RP counts in larger patient populations with ITP and after HSCT. © 2007 Clinical Cytometry Society