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Am J Pathol. 2013 Jan;182(1):244-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.09.005. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

FcγRIIa ligation induces platelet hypersensitivity to thrombotic stimuli.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Toledo, Ohio 43614, USA.


Platelets are known for their important role in hemostasis, however their significance in other functions, including inflammation and infection, are becoming more apparent. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are known to have circulating IgG complexes in their blood and are highly susceptible to thrombotic events. Because platelets express a single receptor for IgG, we tested the hypothesis that ligation of this receptor (FcγRIIa) induces platelet hypersensitivity to thrombotic stimuli. Platelets from SLE patients were considerably more sensitive to thrombin compared to healthy volunteers, and this correlated with elevated levels of surface IgG on SLE platelets. To test whether FcγRIIa ligation stimulated thrombin hypersensitivity, platelets from healthy volunteers were incubated with buffer or heat-aggregated IgG, then stimulated with increasing concentrations of thrombin. Interestingly, heat-aggregated IgG-stimulated platelets, but not buffer-treated platelets, were hypersensitive to thrombin, and hypersensitivity was blocked by an anti-FcγRIIa monoclonal antibody (mAb). Thrombin hypersensitivity was not due to changes in thrombin receptor expression (GPIbα or PAR1) but is dependent on activation of shared signaling molecules. These observations suggest that ligation of platelet FcγRIIa by IgG complexes induces a hypersensitive state whereby small changes in thrombotic stimuli may result in platelet activation and subsequent vascular complications such as transient ischemic attacks or stroke.

Copyright © 2013 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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