Generation of platelet-derived microparticles and procoagulant activity by heparin-induced thrombocytopenia IgG/serum and other IgG platelet agonists: a comparison with standard platelet agonists

Platelets. 1999;10(5):319-26. doi: 10.1080/09537109975960.


Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a relatively common, immunoglobulin-mediated adverse drug reaction associated with in vivo thrombin generation and both venous and arterial thrombosis. Serum and purified IgG from patients with HIT induce normal platelets to generate procoagulant platelet-derived microparticles, but the magnitude of this response in comparison with other IgG and standard platelet agonists is unknown. We describe a comparison of IgG platelet agonists, including HIT-IgG/serum, heat-aggregated IgG, and platelet-activating murine monoclonal antibodies, with standard 'strong' and 'weak' platelet agonists, and have determined their relative ability to generate platelet procoagulant activity. Using washed normal platelets as targets, we observed that HIT sera as well as other IgG agonists produced similar or even greater numbers of microparticles and procoagulant activity than the standard strong platelet agonists (thrombin, collagen, and thrombin receptor agonist peptide). The only exception was the non-physiological platelet agonist, calcium ionophore, which consistently produced a platelet procoagulant response even greater than the IgG agonists. We conclude that the IgG class of platelet agonists (including pathogenic HIT antibodies) is an effective trigger of the platelet procoagulant response comparable at least to strong physiological platelet agonists. These results help to explain the association between HIT, in vivo thrombin generation, and thrombosis.