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Am J Hematol. 2012 May;87(5):525-8. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23111. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Determination of human platelet antigen typing by molecular methods: Importance in diagnosis and early treatment of neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia.

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Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) is the most common cause of severe thrombocytopenia and intracranial hemorrhage in the perinatal period. While the gold standard for making a diagnosis of NAIT is detection of a human platelet antigen (HPA)-specific antibody in maternal serum, together with identifying an incompatibility between the parents for the cognate HPA antigen, platelet genotyping is the gold standard method for HPA typing. Platelet genotyping is critical in screening at-risk fetuses for the presence ofthe HPA corresponding to the maternal antibody. In addition, platelet genotyping may play a role in population screening to identify women at risk for sensitization, and thus, fetuses at risk for NAIT. The most commonly used methods of platelet genotyping are sequence-specific primer-polymerase chain reaction (PCR-SSP), restriction fragment length polymorphism-PCR (PCR-RFLP), and TaqMan real-time PCR. PCR-SSP and PCR-RFLP are relatively inexpensive and technically simple methods, but they are not easily automated and require expertise for reliable interpretation of results. Newer methods that allow for multiplexing, automation, and easily interpretable results, such as bead arrays, are currently in development and available for research purposes.

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