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Blood. 2001 May 15;97(10):3300-2.

Induction of monocyte tissue factor expression by antibodies to heparin-platelet factor 4 complexes developed in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

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Department of Hematology, Faculté de Médecine, Tours, and Hyphen Biomed, Andresy, France.


The pathogenesis of thrombosis in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) was studied by investigating whether antibodies to heparin-platelet factor 4 (H-PF4) induced tissue factor (TF) synthesis by monocytes. Plasma from 5 patients with HIT containing IgG to H-PF4 was incubated with peripheral blood mononuclear cells without or with purified PF4 and heparin. Significant TF-dependent procoagulant activity (PCA) expressed by monocytes, measured with a factor Xa-based chromogenic assay, was induced after incubation of each HIT plasma sample. This monocyte PCA required the presence of PF4 and was inhibited by high concentrations of heparin. Furthermore, purified HIT IgG added to whole blood with PF4 and heparin also provoked significant synthesis of TF mRNA by monocytes, demonstrated by RT-PCR, and this effect was not observed with normal IgG. These findings strongly support the hypothesis that antibodies to PF4 developed in HIT trigger the production of tissue factor by monocytes, and this effect could account in vivo for hypercoagulability and thrombotic complications in affected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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