• idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura;
  • autoantibodies;
  • MAIPA;
  • clonality

To address the assumption of clonally restricted antibodies in immune thrombocytopenias we studied sera from 19 patients with chronic ITP known to possess antibodies reactive with glycoprotein (GP) Ib/IX and/or GPIIb/IIIa. These sera were re-analysed using the standard monoclonal antibody immobilization of platelet antigens (MAIPA) assay and 16 patients exhibited IgG antibodies reactive with GPIIb/IIIa; seven patients showed also a reactivity with GPIb/IX. Employing a light-chain-specific MAIPA assay, 75% (12/16) of these sera displayed GPHb/ Ilia-specific antibodies that were light chain restricted; only 13% (2/16) of the GPIIb/IHa reactive sera showed a mixed kappa and lambda phenotype. A light-chain-restricted phenotype was also seen for the GPIb/IX reactive antibodies. To further substantiate these findings, the MAIPA assay was modified in order to avoid interference from human anti-mouse antibodies. A high frequency of light-chain restricted platelet antibodies was also found using the modified MAIPA technique. These results support the hypothesis of a clonal B-cell expansion in immune thrombocytopenias, producing antibodies with a restricted idiotype repertoire and reacting with a limited number of epitopes.