Pathogenesis and Therapeutic Mechanisms in Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP)

J Clin Med. 2017 Feb 9;6(2):16. doi: 10.3390/jcm6020016.


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by low platelet counts. The pathogenesis of ITP remains unclear although both antibody-mediated and/or T cell-mediated platelet destruction are key processes. In addition, impairment of T cells, cytokine imbalances, and the contribution of the bone marrow niche have now been recognized to be important. Treatment strategies are aimed at the restoration of platelet counts compatible with adequate hemostasis rather than achieving physiological platelet counts. The first line treatments focus on the inhibition of autoantibody production and platelet degradation, whereas second-line treatments include immunosuppressive drugs, such as Rituximab, and splenectomy. Finally, thirdline treatments aim to stimulate platelet production by megakaryocytes. This review discusses the pathophysiology of ITP and how the different treatment modalities affect the pathogenic mechanisms.

Keywords: immune thrombocytopenia (ITP); B cells; T cells; autoimmunity; platelets.

Publication types

  • Review