Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is thought to result from an aberrant adaptive autoimmune response, involving autoantibodies, B and T lymphocytes, directed at platelets and megakaryocytes. Previous reports have demonstrated skewed CD4+ T-helper subset distribution and enhanced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 17A and interferon gamma. The role of monocytes (MCs) in ITP is less widely described, but innate immune cells have a role in shaping CD4+ T-cell phenotypes. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are commonly used for first-line ITP treatment and modulate a broad range of immune cells including T cells and MCs. Using multiparameter flow cytometry analysis, we demonstrate the expansion of intermediate MCs (CD14++ CD16+ ) in untreated patients with newly diagnosed ITP, with these cells displaying a pro-inflammatory phenotype, characterised by enhanced expression of CD64 and CD80. After 2 weeks of prednisolone treatment (1 mg/kg daily), the proportion of intermediate MCs reduced, with enhanced expression of the anti-inflammatory markers CD206 and CD163. Healthy control MCs were distinctly different than MCs from patients with ITP before and after GC treatment. Furthermore, the GC-induced phenotype was not observed in patients with chronic ITP receiving thrombopoietin receptor agonists. These data suggest a role of MCs in ITP pathogenesis and clinical response to GC therapy.
Keywords: autoimmunity; glucocorticoids; immune thrombocytopenia; monocyte subsets; steroids.
© 2020 The Authors. British Journal of Haematology published by British Society for Haematology and John Wiley & Sons.