Role of platelet surface PF4 antigenic complexes in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia pathogenesis: diagnostic and therapeutic implications.


Journal Article

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) antibodies recognize complexes between heparin and platelet factor 4 (PF4). Heparin and PF4 bind HIT antibodies only over a narrow molar ratio. We explored the involvement of platelet surface-bound PF4 as an antigen in the pathogenesis of experimental HIT. We show that cell-surface PF4 complexes are also antigenic only over a restricted concentration range of PF4. Heparin is not required for HIT antibody binding but shifts the concentration of PF4 needed for optimal surface antigenicity to higher levels. These data are supported by in vitro studies involving both human and murine platelets with exogenous recombinant human (h) PF4 and either an anti-PF4-heparin monoclonal antibody (KKO) or HIT immunoglobulin. Injection of KKO into transgenic mice expressing different levels of hPF4 demonstrates a correlation between the severity of the thrombocytopenia and platelet hPF4 expression. Therapeutic interventions in this model using high-dose heparin or protamine sulfate support the pathogenic role of surface PF4 antigenic complexes in the etiology of HIT. We believe that this focus on surface PF4 advances our understanding of the pathogenesis of HIT, suggests ways to identify patients at high risk to develop HIT upon heparin exposure, and offers new therapeutic strategies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rauova, L; Zhai, L; Kowalska, MA; Arepally, GM; Cines, DB; Poncz, M

Published Date

  • March 15, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 107 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 2346 - 2353

PubMed ID

  • 16304054

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16304054

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-4971

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1182/blood-2005-08-3122


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States