Human platelet alloantigens

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2001 Oct 30;113(20-21):806-13.


Antibody formation against alloantigens of the human platelet membrane is responsible for clinical syndromes and transfusion related conditions as neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT), post-transfusion purpura (PTP), platelet transfusion refractoriness (PTR) and passive alloimmune thrombocytopenia. Moreover, rare cases of alloimmune reactions involving platelets have been observed after transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells. Among alloantigens of the platelet membrane shared with other cells (type I alloantigens) are the glycoconjugates of the ABO system and class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antigens. Antibodies against these structures are responsible for PTR and for febrile nonhemolytic transfusion reactions. Antibodies against type II antigens (formerly termed "platelet specific antigens") have been observed in NAIT, PTP and passive alloimmune thrombocytopenia. ABH antigens have been identified on intrinsic platelet membrane glycoproteins. Moreover, it is now clear that HLA class I antigens are an integral part of the platelet membrane. The quantity of both HLA and ABH-antigen expression on the platelet membrane varies considerably. Single point mutations account for almost all platelet specific alloantigens, but most antigenic determinants seem to depend upon glycoprotein conformation: generally, platelet specific alloantibodies fail to recognize synthetic peptides encompassing the polymorphic residues. Restriction fragment polymorphism analysis and allele-specific PCR have been implemented for genotyping of platelet alloantigens in many laboratories. Antigen specific assays using monoclonal antibodies (MAIPA, immunobead assay) became de facto standard for diagnosis of platelet antibodies in serum/plasma samples. It can be expected that innovative techniques as human alloantibody fragments produced by phage display technique and the production of recombinant antigens will allow rapid and reliable phenotyping and antibody detection in the future.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Human Platelet / genetics*
  • Antigens, Human Platelet / immunology*
  • Blood Platelets / immunology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genotype
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombocytopenia / diagnosis*
  • Thrombocytopenia / immunology
  • Thrombosis / genetics


  • Antigens, Human Platelet
  • Glycoproteins