Autoimmune neutropenia

N Engl J Med. 1975 Oct 9;293(15):748-53. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197510092931505.


Serologic tests for antineutrophil antibodies were used to determine if autoantibodies cause neutropenia. The serums of five patients with idiopathic neutropeniaopsonized normal neutrophils, causing them to be ingested by rabbit macrophages or else to activate glucose oxidation rates of other normal neutrophils by at least twice the rate of controls. Some of the serums inhibited the ability of normal neutrophils to ingest by 62 to 56 per cent. At splenectomy in two of the patients splenic macrophages contained ingested neutrophils, suggesting that the opsonic activity of the serum demonstrated in vitro had pathogenetic importance. In two adults, and possibly in an infant, corticosteroids raised the neutrophil count, although antibody activity remained in the serum of the adults. The findings indicate that autoantibodies are the basis of some cases of idiopathic neutropenia, and that they act by promoting the clearance of neutrophils by mononuclear phagocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agranulocytosis / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutropenia / etiology
  • Neutropenia / immunology*
  • Neutropenia / therapy
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Opsonin Proteins
  • Phagocytosis
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Rabbits / immunology
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Splenectomy


  • Autoantibodies
  • Opsonin Proteins
  • Prednisone