Send to

Choose Destination
J Lab Clin Med. 2001 Jul;138(1):22-31.

Heparin is not required for detection of antibodies associated with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia/thrombosis.

Author information

Blood Research Institute, The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, PO Box 2178, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA.


Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), with or without thrombosis, is a common and often serious complication of heparin therapy. Platelet-activating, heparin-induced antibodies characteristic of HIT are thought to be specific for complexes formed between platelet factor 4 (PF4) and heparin, and such complexes are routinely used for antibody detection. We studied the binding of HIT antibodies to PF4 complexed with heparin fractions of uniform molecular size or linear polyanions other than heparin and found that many compounds other than heparin form complexes with PF4 that are suitable for antibody detection, provided they carry strong negative charges spaced about 0.5 nm apart along the molecular backbone and are of sufficient length to span about 40% of the circumference of the PF4 tetramer. Polyvinyl phosphonate was among the compounds that were equivalent to heparin. Thus neither a polysaccharide chain nor sulfate side groups--the hallmarks of heparin structure--are required for HIT antibody detection. The findings support the view that antibodies associated with HIT are specific for conformational changes that take place in the positively charged PF4 molecule when it reacts with a suitable, linear polyanion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center