Background: Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) commonly arises due to antibodies against a small number of well-defined human platelet antigens (HPAs). A minority of NAIT cases occur due to maternal immunization against low-frequency polymorphisms in platelet glycoprotein that result in new immunogenic epitopes. Antibodies to these novel epitopes can be detected by the incubation of maternal serum with paternal platelets and is usually performed after initial investigation using HPA-typed panel platelets has failed to provide evidence of NAIT.
Study design and methods: The propositus and the parents from a case of suspected neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) were investigated using serologic and molecular techniques to detect and identify relevant platelet-specific antibodies and for HPA typing. Calculations of molecular dynamics were undertaken to explore potential variations in the molecular structure.
Results: Maternal antibodies were detected that were reactive only in crossmatch with paternal platelets using the platelet immunofluorescence test (PIFT) and a GPIIb/IIIa monoclonal antibody immobilization of platelet antigen (MAIPA) assay. In the propositus and father, a novel mutation c.1373 A > G was found in exon 10 of ITGB3 resulting in the substitution of an aspartic acid for a glycine (p.Asp458Gly). Recombinant GPIIIa glycoprotein mutated to contain the novel mutation and expressed in HEK293 cells with GPIIb was also specifically recognized by maternal antibodies. Calculations of molecular dynamics identified that the mutation was in a structurally constrained site.
Conclusion: This case describes a low-frequency platelet antigen (Asp458Gly) that defines a further alloantigenic target in NAIT. The case emphasizes the role of the platelet crossmatch as the single most useful tool to establish evidence of immunization of low-frequency platelet glycoprotein polymorphisms. A crossmatch should always be performed where there is strong clinical evidence of NAIT but initial laboratory investigations are not confirmatory.
© 2018 AABB.