B-cell hyperfunction in children with immune thrombocytopenic purpura persists after splenectomy

Paola Giordano, Simona Cascioli, Giuseppe Lassandro, Valentina Marcellini, Fabio Cardinale, Federica Valente, Franco Locatelli, Rita Carsetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is characterized by reduced platelet count secondary to immune-mediated destruction, this results in an increased bleeding risk. Autoantibodies binding to platelets tag them for premature destruction in the spleen. For this reason, splenectomy is often performed as treatment of chronic forms of disease that are resistant to pharmacological therapy. Methods: We studied 30 patients with ITP and compared them with age-matched controls. Results: We show that B cells of patients with chronic ITP are intrinsically hyperreactive, producing more than normal IgG in vivo and plasma cells in vitro. In normal individuals after splenectomy, a significant depletion of memory B cells is observed, associated with loss of reactivity to CpG oligodeoxynucleotide and consequent inability to form antibody-producing cells. In Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot Methods, we compared three splenectomized ITP patients relapsing after surgery, 30 healthy controls, and 37 individuals splenectomized for trauma, spherocytosis, thalassemia, nonhematological tumor, and other diseases.Conclusions:We confirmed that B cells of ITP patients remain hyperreactive in vitro and form high numbers of antibody-producing cells after splenectomy. Thus, chronic ITP may be associated with intrinsic B-cell hyperfunction, leading to the production of antibodies with multiple specificities including that against platelets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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