The IgG subclasses of platelet-associated autoantibodies directed against platelet glycoproteins IIb/IIIa in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
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The majority of patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) have antiplatelet autoantibodies that are most frequently directed against platelet glycoproteins IIb/IIIa or Ib/IX/V. However, there is some debate whether the immune response is oligoclonal or polyclonal in nature. We investigated the subclass distribution of anti-IIb/IIIa IgG autoantibodies in 59 prospectively studied patients with ITP. We also tested patients with a variety of thrombocytopenic disorders (n=31) and healthy controls (n=30). Platelet lysates were tested for IgG anti-IIb/IIIa autoantibodies, and the specific IgG subclass distribution was measured using antigen capture assays. All testing was done blinded to diagnosis and other assay results. After unblinding, we found that 43 of the 59 ITP patients had anti-IIb/IIIa autoantibodies (sensitivity=73%). Anti-IIb/IIIa autoantibodies were also detected in five of the 31 non-ITP patients, but in none of the 30 healthy controls (specificity=91%). The IgG subclass assay was positive in 39 of the 43 ITP patients with anti-IIb/IIIa antibodies (sensitivity=92%) and in 12 samples that had no detectable anti-IIb/IIIa antibodies including two ITP patients (specificity=83%). The most common subclass in the ITP patient samples was IgG1 (77%), either alone (n=14) or with other IgG subclass antibodies (n=19). However, there were also patients with only IgG2 (n=2), IgG3 (n=3) or IgG4 (n=3) antibodies. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that ITP is a heterogeneous disorder and that some patients have evidence of oligoclonality, whereas other patients have polyclonal autoantibodies.
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