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Vox Sang. 2011 May;100(4):395-400. doi: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2010.01435.x. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Non-D Rh antibodies appearing after apheresis platelet transfusion: stimulation by red cells or microparticles?

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Department of Blood Transfusion and Transplantation Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan.



Apheresis platelets (APs) have gained favour over whole blood-derived platelets on the presumption that they are less likely to provoke alloimmunization to red-blood-cell antigens.


Non-D Rh antibodies appeared in three patients after apheresis platelet transfusion. Anti-C and anti-E arose in two female patients with previous antigen exposure. Both anti-c and anti-E arose in a male recipient with no prior transfusion history.


Fifty APs were analysed for residual RBCs and RBC-derived microparticles, using samples obtained from a local blood centre. Cells and microparticles were quantified with a flow cytometry gating scheme, using PE-labelled anti-CD235a (glycophorin A) and FITC-labelled anti-CD41a (platelet gp IIb/IIIa) to distinguish lineage.


Apheresis platelets were found to contain a mean of 7·5×10(6) (95% C.I. [6·3-8·5×10(6) ]) RBCs on one manufacturer's device and 5·2×10(6) (95% C.I. [4·0-6·3×10(6) ]) RBCs on another's. RBC-derived microparticles averaged 210·7×10(6) (95% C.I. [166·2-254·2×10(6) ]) on one manufacturer's device and 232·3×10(6) (95% C.I. [194·3-272·9×10(6) ]) on another's. These counts all correspond to volumes of <1 μl.


Despite RBC contamination of APs below commonly accepted thresholds for Rh immunogenicity, AP transfusion can provoke non-D Rh antibody formation. RBC-derived microparticles, smaller but more numerous than RBCs, are volumetrically comparable and may be a hitherto underappreciated antibody stimulus. Further microparticle research will guide considerations of extended phenotypic matching of platelet components.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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