Autoimmune granulocytopenia: the detection of granulocyte autoantibodies with the immunofluorescence test

Br J Haematol. 1978 Jul;39(3):339-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.1978.tb01106.x.


Neutropenia may be caused by neutrophil autoantibodies. The detection of such antibodies has always been difficult. Recently, we developed a sensitive indirect immunofluorescence technique applicable to granulocytes which proved to be of value in the detection of granulocyte alloantibodies. We have now used this method to investigate the serum and cells of 29 patients with idiopathic or secondary neutropenia. In four patients neutrophil-antigen-specific autoantibodies were detected in the serum and the patient's own granulocytes showed direct fluorescence. Furthermore, differences in the immunoglobulin composition and the temperature of optimal activity of the autoantibodies were found. Direct fluorescence was also demonstrated with the granulocytes from five other neutropenic patients and with the granulocytes from five non-neutropenic patients mainly with infectious disease. However, no granulocyte antibodies could be eluted or shown to be present in the serum. This indicates that a positive direct granulocyte fluorescence test may not be considered as proof that autoantibodies are present.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agranulocytosis / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Granulocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Male


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulins