Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Transfus Sci. 1998 Sep;19(3):217-24.

Platelet cold agglutinins: a flow cytometric analysis.

Author information

  • 1St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Spontaneous EDTA-independent cold platelet agglutination is a rare phenomenon that produces pseudothrombocytopenia when blood samples are analyzed in automated cell counters. We report a case of platelet cold agglutinins and an analysis by flow cytometry. A 49 year old woman presented with abnormal vaginal bleed secondary to uterine fibroids. Platelet clumping was observed in blood samples taken in EDTA-, heparin- and citrate-containing tubes. In flow cytometric tests, patient serum agglutinated 16% of normal platelets at 22 degrees C, and 7% of platelets after incubation at 37 degrees C; in contrast, 3% and < 1% of platelets were agglutinated at 22 and 37 degrees C, respectively, after incubation with normal serum. Minimal agglutination (< 10%) was observed with patient serum at a titre of 1:5 or at temperatures > 30 degrees C. After incubation at 4 degrees C, IgM antibody and C3 were increased on the patient's platelets; no significant amount of IgM or C3 was detected on normal platelets. The specificity of the platelet cold agglutinin was determined by competitive inhibition by monoclonal anti-CD41(GPIIbIIIa). Before the addition of monoclonal antibody, patient's serum agglutinated 16% of normal platelets at 22 degrees C; after addition of anti-CD41 only 2% of the platelets were agglutinated. This blocking effect was not observed with anti-CD42. The patient's platelets functioned normally as determined by CD62 and CD63 expression in response to thrombin, normal platelet aggregation in response to collagen, ADP, and ristocetin, and a normal template bleeding time. In summary, platelet agglutination by a platelet cold agglutinin was quantitated by flow cytometry, the responsible antibody was characterized as a low titre IgM with minimal activity > 30 degrees C, and competitive binding studies supported the GPIIbIIIa complex as the binding site for the antibody. Since the antibody did not affect platelet function, we believe that these patients will not suffer complications from their platelet cold agglutinin, but it could pose a problem under circumstances such as cardiac surgery with hypothermia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

LinkOut - more resources

Full Text Sources

Other Literature Sources

Molecular Biology Databases

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk