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J Immunol. 2011 Dec 15;187(12):6564-70. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1102533. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

Alloantibodies against MHC class I: a novel mechanism of neonatal pancytopenia linked to vaccination.

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Université de Toulouse, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, F-31076 Toulouse, France.


Fetal/neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia is a frequent disease in humans where alloantibodies against platelet Ags lead to platelet destruction and hemorrhage. Although a role in the disease for Abs against MHC has been suspected, this has not been formally demonstrated. Since 2007, a hemorrhagic syndrome due to thrombocytopenia and designated as bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP) has been recognized in calves in several European countries. An inactivated antiviral vaccine is strongly suspected to be involved in this syndrome because of its highly frequent use in the dams of affected calves. In this study, we show that BNP is an alloimmune disease, as we reproduced the signs by transferring serum Abs from vaccinated BNP dams into healthy neonatal calves. Ab specificity was strongly associated with the presence of allogeneic MHC class I Abs in the dams. MHC class I staining was also observed on Madin-Darby bovine kidney cells, a cell line related to the one used to produce the vaccine Ag. Our report emphatically demonstrates that alloimmunization against MHC class I is associated with a substantial risk of developing cytopenia-associated syndromes in neonates when a cell line of the same species is used to produce an inactivated vaccine injected into the mother.

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