Thrombocytopenia in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (review)

Hematology. 2005 Apr;10(2):101-5. doi: 10.1080/10245330400026170.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has been recognized as a new human infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Hematological changes in patients with SARS were common, including notably lymphopenia and thrombocytopenia. While the former is the result of decreases in CD4+ or CD8+ T-lymphocytes related to the onset of disease or use of glucocorticoids, the latter may involve a number of potential mechanisms. Although the development of autoimmune antibodies or immune complexes triggered by viral infection may play a significant role in inducing thrombocytopenia, SARS-CoV may also directly infect hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, megakaryocytes and platelets inducing their growth inhibition and apoptosis. Moreover, the increased consumption of platelets and/or the decreased production of platelets in the damaged lungs are a potential alternative mechanism that can contribute to thrombocytopenia in severe critical pulmonary conditions, which has been rarely revealed and will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / virology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphopenia / etiology
  • Lymphopenia / immunology
  • Lymphopenia / virology
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / etiology
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / immunology*
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / virology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / complications
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / immunology*
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / immunology*