Heparin-associated thrombocytopenia: the effects of various intravenous IgG preparations on antibody mediated platelet activation--a possible new indication for high dose i.v. IgG

Thromb Haemost. 1994 May;71(5):641-5.


The immunologic type of heparin-associated thrombocytopenia (HAT) is caused by antibodies which activate platelets via the Fc-receptor in the presence of polysulfated oligosaccharides. The antigen is formed by a releasable platelet protein (in many cases PF4) complexed to heparin. Since the role of GP IIb/IIIa in platelet activation by HAT antibodies is controversial, we investigated platelet activation by antibodies related to HAT. We used normal platelets and platelets from a patient with Glanzmann's thrombasthenia (GT) lacking GP IIb/IIIa. Heparin and sera from patients with HAT stimulated GT platelets in the same manner as determined by 14C-serotonin release and the changes in phosphorylation of p20 and p47. Platelet activation could be inhibited by an anti FcRII monoclonal antibody (IV. 3, Fab-fragments), and by Fc-fragments, but not by F(ab')2-fragments of human IgG. The effect of four different, commercially available preparations of intact i.v. IgG on the platelet activation by six HAT sera was investigated by 14C-serotonin release. The inhibitory effect was strongly dependent upon the manufacturing process. At a concentration of 20 mg/ml only IgG that had been subjected to low pH and traces of pepsin sufficiently inhibited platelet activation. IgG treated with polyethylenglycol or sulfitolysis was less effective, whereas beta-propiolactone-treated IgG almost completely lost the ability to inhibit platelet activation by antibodies related to HAT. We conclude that inhibition of GP IIb/IIIa-fibrinogen interaction is insufficient for preventing platelet activation in HAT.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Heparin / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Isoantibodies / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Activation / drug effects*
  • Platelet Activation / immunology
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins / deficiency
  • Reference Values
  • Thrombocytopenia / chemically induced
  • Thrombocytopenia / therapy*


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Isoantibodies
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Heparin