Determinants of donor platelet variability when testing for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.
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Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia is a common immune-mediated drug reaction that can be complicated by life-threatening arterial thrombosis. The diagnosis can be confirmed by demonstrating heparin-dependent release of radiolabeled serotonin from washed normal platelets in the presence of patient serum. However, certain serum samples from these patients produce 14C-serotonin release from some but not other normal donor platelets. We investigated this problem of donor platelet variability by studying the reactivities of 10 serum samples from patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia with platelets from 10 normal donors (100 serum and platelet combinations). We observed a marked variability in reactivity for patient serum and platelets from normal donors; this initially appeared random. However, closer examination indicated that the reactivities varied hierarchically. Because heparin-induced thrombocytopenia is caused by binding of heparin-dependent IgG to platelet Fc receptors, we examined whether platelet Fc receptor number or function explained the variability in platelet reactivity. We observed that platelet Fc receptor function, as measured by platelet release associated with heat-aggregated IgG, was highly correlated with platelet reactivity to heparin-induced thrombocytopenia serum samples. No significant correlation, however, was found between Fc receptor number and platelet response. Reaction of murine monoclonal antibodies that activate human platelets by means of the platelet Fc receptors was not predictive of platelet reactivity to heparin-induced thrombocytopenia serum.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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