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Concept: Thrombocytopenia


The diagnostic work-up for heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) can take several days. Consequently patients may be speculatively switched onto replacement anticoagulant therapy before a diagnosis is confirmed. On-demand immunoassay diagnostic testing enables timely treatment decisions, based on test results.

Concepts: Medical terms, Diagnosis, Anticoagulant, Heparin, Thrombocytopenia, Immunoassay, Medical test, Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia


Variants in ETV6, which encodes a transcription repressor of the E26 transformation-specific family, have recently been reported to be responsible for inherited thrombocytopenia and hematologic malignancy. We sequenced the DNA from cases with unexplained dominant thrombocytopenia and identified six likely pathogenic variants in ETV6, of which five are novel. We observed low repressive activity of all tested ETV6 variants and variants located in the E26 transformation-specific binding domain (encoding p.A377T, p.Y401N) led to reduced binding to co-repressors. We also observed large expansion of CFU-MKs derived from variant carriers and reduced proplatelet formation with abnormal cytoskeletal organization. The defect in proplatelet formation was also observed in control CD34+ cell-derived megakaryocytes transduced with lentiviral particles encoding mutant ETV6. Reduced expression levels of key regulators of the actin cytoskeleton Cdc42 and RhoA were measured. Moreover, changes in the actin structures are typically accompanied by a rounder platelet shape with a highly heterogeneous size, decreased platelet arachidonic response, spreading and retarded clot retraction in ETV6 deficient platelets. Elevated numbers of circulating CD34+ cells were found in p.P214L and p.Y401N carriers, and two patients from different families suffered from refractory anemia with excess blasts while one patient from a third family was successfully treated for acute myeloid leukemia. Overall, our study provides novel insights into the role of ETV6 as a driver of cytoskeletal regulatory gene expression during platelet production and the impact of variants resulting in platelets with altered size, shape and function and potentially also in changes in circulating progenitor levels.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Platelet, Leukemia, Cytoskeleton, Acute myeloid leukemia, Blood disorders, Thrombocytopenia


Tumor-educated blood platelets (TEPs) are implicated as central players in the systemic and local responses to tumor growth, thereby altering their RNA profile. We determined the diagnostic potential of TEPs by mRNA sequencing of 283 platelet samples. We distinguished 228 patients with localized and metastasized tumors from 55 healthy individuals with 96% accuracy. Across six different tumor types, the location of the primary tumor was correctly identified with 71% accuracy. Also, MET or HER2-positive, and mutant KRAS, EGFR, or PIK3CA tumors were accurately distinguished using surrogate TEP mRNA profiles. Our results indicate that blood platelets provide a valuable platform for pan-cancer, multiclass cancer, and companion diagnostics, possibly enabling clinical advances in blood-based “liquid biopsies”.

Concepts: Cancer, Blood, Bone marrow, Chemotherapy, Coagulation, Platelet, Tumor, Thrombocytopenia


Background Acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is caused by aggregation of platelets on ultralarge von Willebrand factor multimers. This microvascular thrombosis causes multiorgan ischemia with potentially life-threatening complications. Daily plasma exchange and immunosuppressive therapies induce remission, but mortality and morbidity due to microthrombosis remain high. Methods Caplacizumab, an anti-von Willebrand factor humanized single-variable-domain immunoglobulin (Nanobody), inhibits the interaction between ultralarge von Willebrand factor multimers and platelets. In this phase 2, controlled study, we randomly assigned patients with acquired TTP to subcutaneous caplacizumab (10 mg daily) or placebo during plasma exchange and for 30 days afterward. The primary end point was the time to a response, defined as confirmed normalization of the platelet count. Major secondary end points included exacerbations and relapses. Results Seventy-five patients underwent randomization (36 were assigned to receive caplacizumab, and 39 to receive placebo). The time to a response was significantly reduced with caplacizumab as compared with placebo (39% reduction in median time, P=0.005). Three patients in the caplacizumab group had an exacerbation, as compared with 11 patients in the placebo group. Eight patients in the caplacizumab group had a relapse in the first month after stopping the study drug, of whom 7 had ADAMTS13 activity that remained below 10%, suggesting unresolved autoimmune activity. Bleeding-related adverse events, most of which were mild to moderate in severity, were more common with caplacizumab than with placebo (54% of patients vs. 38%). The frequencies of other adverse events were similar in the two groups. Two patients in the placebo group died, as compared with none in the caplacizumab group. Conclusions Caplacizumab induced a faster resolution of the acute TTP episode than did placebo. The platelet-protective effect of caplacizumab was maintained during the treatment period. Caplacizumab was associated with an increased tendency toward bleeding, as compared with placebo. (Funded by Ablynx; number, NCT01151423 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Coagulation, Platelet, Von Willebrand factor, Von Willebrand disease, Thrombocytopenia, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura


Platelets are critical for haemostasis, thrombosis, and inflammatory responses, but the events that lead to mature platelet production remain incompletely understood. The bone marrow has been proposed to be a major site of platelet production, although there is indirect evidence that the lungs might also contribute to platelet biogenesis. Here, by directly imaging the lung microcirculation in mice, we show that a large number of megakaryocytes circulate through the lungs, where they dynamically release platelets. Megakaryocytes that release platelets in the lungs originate from extrapulmonary sites such as the bone marrow; we observed large megakaryocytes migrating out of the bone marrow space. The contribution of the lungs to platelet biogenesis is substantial, accounting for approximately 50% of total platelet production or 10 million platelets per hour. Furthermore, we identified populations of mature and immature megakaryocytes along with haematopoietic progenitors in the extravascular spaces of the lungs. Under conditions of thrombocytopenia and relative stem cell deficiency in the bone marrow, these progenitors can migrate out of the lungs, repopulate the bone marrow, completely reconstitute blood platelet counts, and contribute to multiple haematopoietic lineages. These results identify the lungs as a primary site of terminal platelet production and an organ with considerable haematopoietic potential.

Concepts: Blood, Red blood cell, Bone marrow, Coagulation, Platelet, Hemostasis, Thrombocytopenia, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura


Zika virus is a flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, and infection can be asymptomatic or result in an acute febrile illness with rash (1). Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other severe birth defects (2). Infection has also been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) (3) and severe thrombocytopenia (4,5). In December 2015, the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) reported the first locally acquired case of Zika virus infection. This report provides an update to the epidemiology of and public health response to ongoing Zika virus transmission in Puerto Rico (6,7). A confirmed case of Zika virus infection is defined as a positive result for Zika virus testing by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for Zika virus in a blood or urine specimen. A presumptive case is defined as a positive result by Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA)* and a negative result by dengue virus IgM ELISA, or a positive test result by Zika IgM MAC-ELISA in a pregnant woman. An unspecified flavivirus case is defined as positive or equivocal results for both Zika and dengue virus by IgM ELISA. During November 1, 2015-July 7, 2016, a total of 23,487 persons were evaluated by PRDH and CDC Dengue Branch for Zika virus infection, including asymptomatic pregnant women and persons with signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease or suspected GBS; 5,582 (24%) confirmed and presumptive Zika virus cases were identified. Persons with Zika virus infection were residents of 77 (99%) of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities. During 2016, the percentage of positive Zika virus infection cases among symptomatic males and nonpregnant females who were tested increased from 14% in February to 64% in June. Among 9,343 pregnant women tested, 672 had confirmed or presumptive Zika virus infection, including 441 (66%) symptomatic women and 231 (34%) asymptomatic women. One patient died after developing severe thrombocytopenia (4). Evidence of Zika virus infection or recent unspecified flavivirus infection was detected in 21 patients with confirmed GBS. The widespread outbreak and accelerating increase in the number of cases in Puerto Rico warrants intensified vector control and personal protective behaviors to prevent new infections, particularly among pregnant women.

Concepts: Childbirth, Mosquito, ELISA, Fever, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever, Thrombocytopenia


Thirdhand smoke (THS) is the fraction of cigarette smoke that persists in indoor environments after smoking. We investigated the effects of neonatal and adult THS exposure on bodyweight and blood cell populations in C57BL/6 J mice. At the end of neonatal exposure, THS-treated male and female mice had significantly lower bodyweight than their respective control mice. However, five weeks after neonatal exposure ended, THS-treated mice weighed the same as controls. In contrast, adult THS exposure did not change bodyweight of mice. On the other hand, both neonatal and adult THS exposure had profound effects on the hematopoietic system. Fourteen weeks after neonatal THS exposure ended, eosinophil number and platelet volume were significantly higher, while hematocrit, mean cell volume, and platelet counts were significantly lower compared to control. Similarly, adult THS exposure also decreased platelet counts and increased neutrophil counts. Moreover, both neonatal and adult THS exposure caused a significant increase in percentage of B-cells and significantly decreased percentage of myeloid cells. Our results demonstrate that neonatal THS exposure decreases bodyweight and that THS exposure induces persistent changes in the hematopoietic system independent of age at exposure. These results also suggest that THS exposure may have adverse effects on human health.

Concepts: Chemotherapy, Smoking, Tobacco smoking, Cigarette, Blood cells, Thrombocytopenia, Thymus, Mean corpuscular volume


Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare thrombotic microangiopathy, is defined by a mechanical hemolytic anemia, severe thrombocytopenia, and visceral ischemia due to systemic platelet-rich microthrombi. Specifically in TTP microthrombi, von Willebrand factor, not fibrinogen, is the protein that binds to platelets.(1) Von Willebrand factor is a multimeric glycoprotein that is crucial for physiologic platelet adhesion and aggregation at high shear rates of blood flow, and the largest von Willebrand factor multimers are the most adhesive. The hemostatic power of von Willebrand factor is regulated by a specific cleaving metalloprotease named ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin type 1 repeats, . . .

Concepts: Red blood cell, Coagulation, Platelet, Hematology, Von Willebrand factor, Thrombocytopenia, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura


Thrombocytosis, often considered a marker of normal inflammatory reaction of infections, has been recently associated with increased mortality in hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We assessed the characteristics and outcomes of patients with CAP and thrombocytosis (platelet count ≥ 4 × 105/mm3) compared with thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 105/mm3) and normal platelet count.

Concepts: Inflammation, Pneumonia, Platelet, Thrombocytopenia, Outcome


The role of mitochondrial dysfunction has not been thoroughly clarified in the pathogenesis of critically ill patients. The objective of this study was to investigate mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and apoptosis in circulating platelets in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Mitochondrion, Organelle, Cell biology, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Thrombocytopenia, Sepsis