BACKGROUND: Maternal antibodies that cause neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia are commonly identified by solid-phase assays that detect the causative antibodies on the basis of their reactions with specific PLT glycoproteins. Two cases of severe neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia caused by maternal antibodies specific for human PLT antigen 3a (HPA-3a [Bak a]) that failed to give the expected reactions in some solid-phase assays were recently encountered. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: PLT-reactive antibodies were characterized by three different solid-phase assays and by flow cytometry. RESULTS: The two maternal antibodies gave negative reactions in the antigen capture ELISA, modified antigen capture ELISA, and MoAb immobilization of PLT antigens tests but reacted strongly in flow cytometry with intact PLTs that were HPA-3a+. Other sera samples specific for HPA-3a reacted equally well in all assays. CONCLUSIONS: The two antibodies appear to recognize an epitope on the HPA-3a+ form of glycoprotein IIb that is lost when PLTs are solubilized in detergent, as required for solid-phase assays. The diagnosis was made in these cases because no HLA antibodies were present, allowing an HPA-3a-specific reaction to be identified with intact PLTs as targets. Such antibodies are likely to be overlooked when HLA antibodies are also present.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy