Platelets from thrombocytopenic ponies acutely infected with equine infectious anemia virus are activated in vivo and hypofunctional.
Thrombocytopenia is a consistent finding and one of the earliest hematological abnormalities in horses acutely infected with equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), a lentivirus closely related to human immunodeficiency virus. Multifactorial mechanisms, including immune-mediated platelet destruction and impaired platelet production, are implicated in the pathogenesis of EIAV-associated thrombocytopenia. This study was undertaken to investigate whether regenerative thrombopoiesis and platelet destruction occurred in ponies acutely infected with EIAV. Circulating large, immature platelets were increased in ponies acutely infected with EIAV late in the infection when platelet count was at a nadir. Morphometric analysis of bone marrow from acutely infected ponies revealed significant increased in megakaryocyte area and megakaryocyte nuclear area. A trend toward increased numbers of megakaryocytes was also observed. Platelets from acutely infected ponies had increased surface-bound fibrinogen and ultrastructural changes consistent with in vivo platelet activation. Platelets also had hypofunctional aggregation responses to three agonists in vitro. We conclude that thrombocytopenia in ponies acutely infected with EIAV is regenerative and suggest that bone marrow platelet production is not severely compromised in these ponies. Our findings reveal that in vivo platelet activation occurs in ponies acutely infected with EIAV, and as a result platelets are hypofunctional in vitro. Activation of platelets in vivo may cause platelet degranulation or formation of platelet aggregates, which would result in removal of these damages platelets from circulation. This may represent a form of nonimmune-mediated platelet destruction in ponies acutely infected with EIAV.
Russell, KE; Perkins, PC; Hoffman, MR; Miller, RT; Walker, KM; Fuller, FJ; Sellon, DC
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