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Transfusion. 2001 Jun;41(6):762-5.

Platelet-specific antibodies in HLA-immunized patients receiving chronic platelet support.

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Service of Hemotherapy and Hemostasis, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain.



In HLA-alloimmunized patients, the unexpected failure of HLA-matched platelet transfusions usually raises the suspicion about concomitant platelet-specific antibodies. As the reported frequency of platelet-specific antibodies in multitransfused patients varies widely, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of such antibodies in a population of chronic thrombocytopenic patients with HLA antibodies.


From 1985 to 1997, 11,777 determinations of HLA antibodies were performed in 1330 hematologic patients receiving chronic platelet support. Fifty-two patients with HLA alloimmunization that lasted more than 1 month were selected. The search for platelet-specific antibodies was performed by using a monoclonal antibody immobilization of platelet antigens assay, thus allowing the identification of platelet-specific antibodies directed against the platelet glycoproteins (GP) Ib/IX, GPIIb/IIIa, and GPIa/IIa. Specificity of the platelet-specific antibodies was further investigated by using a solid-phase assay with chloroquine-treated platelets.


Only 2 (3.8%) of the 52 patients had platelet-specific antibodies. One antibody reacted with an epitope of the GPIIb/IIIa that was present in all the panel platelets, and that probably was an autoantibody. The other was an anti-HPA-5b.


The prevalence of platelet-specific antibodies in patients with HLA alloimmunization is very small. The search for concomitant platelet-specific antibodies would be indicated only when other causes of refractoriness to HLA-matched platelets are ruled out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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