Activated platelets in paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria


Dr H. R. Gralnick, NIH, 9000 Rockville Pike, Building 10, Room 2C390, Bethesda, MD 20892, U.S.A.


Summary. One of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) is venous thrombosis. We have studied fibrinolysis, coagulation and platelets in 11 patients with PNH in an attempt to identify the possible mechanism(s) of thrombosis in PNH. In this study we did not identify any fibrinolytic defects, evidence of coagulation activation, nor reduction in coagulation inhibitors. In contrast, in this cohort of 11 PNH patients we have identified varying degrees of platelet activation as defined by the surface expression of activation dependent proteins and the binding of adhesive proteins to the platelet surface. The thrombotic events in PNH usually occur in the venous system. Our studies and previous experimental studies suggest that anti-platelet therapy may be efficacious in reducing the incidence and severity of venous thrombosis in PNH.