It has been suggested that platelet function in chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) may be abnormal. Thrombopoietin mimetics used for treatment can affect it, but the data remain limited. We investigated platelet function of 20 children diagnosed with severe ITP (aged 1-16 years, 12 females and eight males). Platelet functional activity in whole blood was characterized by flow cytometry before and after stimulation with SFLLRN plus collagen-related peptide. Levels of CD42b, PAC1, and CD62P, but not CD61 or annexin V, were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in resting platelets of patients before treatment compared with healthy donors. On average, PAC1 and CD62P in patients after activation were also significantly elevated, although some patients failed to activate integrins. Romiplostim (1-15 μg/kg/week s.c.) was prescribed to seven patients, with clinical improvement in six. Interestingly, one patient had clinical improvement without platelet count increase. Eltrombopag (25-75 mg/day p.o.) was given to four patients, with positive response in one. Others switched to romiplostim, with one stable positive response, one unstable positive response, and one non-responding. Platelet quality improved with romiplostim treatment, and their parameters approached the normal values. Our results suggest that platelets in children with severe ITP are pre-activated and abnormal, but improve with treatment.
Keywords: Eltrombopag; Flow cytometry; Immune thrombocytopenia; Platelet function; Romiplostim.