Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: new evidence for the dynamic binding of purified anti-PF4-heparin antibodies to platelets and the resultant platelet activation.

Newman PM , Chong BH
Immune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is associated with antibodies directed against a complex of platelet factor 4 (PF4) and heparin. We were able to affinity purify anti-PF4-heparin IgG (HIT IgG) from the plasma of 2 patients with HIT. Under conditions that were more physiological and sensitive than those in previous studies, we observed that this HIT IgG caused platelet aggregation on the addition of heparin. Platelets activated with HIT IgG increased their release and surface expression of PF4. We quantitated, for the first time, the binding of affinity-purified HIT iodine 125-IgG to platelets as they activated in a plasma milieu. Binding of the HIT IgG was dependent on heparin and required some degree of platelet activation. Blocking the platelet FcgammaRII with the monoclonal antibody IV.3 did not prevent HIT IgG binding to activated platelets. We concluded that anti-PF4-heparin IgG is the component in these HIT plasmas that induces platelet aggregation. The Fab region of HIT IgG binds to PF4-heparin on the surface of activated platelets. We propose that only then does the Fc portion of the bound IgG further activate the same or adjacent platelets through the Fc receptor. Our data support a dynamic model of platelet activation in which released PF4 enhances further antibody binding and more release.

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