Fetal and neonatal thrombopoietin levels in alloimmune thrombocytopenia.
Porcelijn L., Folman CC., de Haas M., Kanhai HHH., Murphy MF., von dem Borne AEGK., Bussel JB.
Thrombopoietin (Tpo) is the main hematopoietic growth factor for platelet production. Plasma Tpo levels in autoimmune thrombocytopenic patients are normal or slightly elevated. Although thrombocytopenia exists, Tpo levels are not increased because the produced megakaryocytes and platelets can bind circulating Tpo, thereby normalizing Tpo levels. In this study, plasma samples from fetuses and neonates with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT), a different form of immune thrombocytopenia, were measured. Umbilical cord samples from 50 fetuses before treatment because of severe thrombocytopenia and 51 fetuses after treatment, and peripheral blood samples of 21 untreated newborns with NAIT were analyzed. As controls, plasma Tpo levels were determined in 21 umbilical cord samples of 14 nonthrombocytopenic fetuses with hemolytic disease resulting from red blood cell alloimmunization and in umbilical cord samples of 51 healthy newborns. The values were also compared with the plasma Tpo levels in 193 healthy adults. Mean Tpo levels from the groups of fetuses and neonates, including both NAIT and control plasma, were slightly but significantly elevated compared with levels in healthy adults. Tpo levels in NAIT samples were not significantly different from the levels in hemolytic disease samples or in samples from healthy newborns. Thus, as in autoimmune thrombocytopenic patients, normal Tpo levels are present in NAIT patients.