Pregnancy-associated autoimmune neonatal thrombocytopenia: role of maternal HLA genotype

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In a prospective study between 1993 and 1998, data was collected from 46 pregnant women and subsequently from their babies. 25 pregnant women with active autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (AITP) or a history of AITP (group A) and 21 pregnant women with isolated thrombocytopenia and identification of specific platelet autoantibodies detected by monoclonal antibody-specific immobilization of platelet antigens (MAIPA) assay (group B) were evaluated for platelet-associated immunoglobulin-G (PAIgG), MAIPA assay and HLA genotype. Neonatal platelet counts were performed at least three times in the first week. 11 neonates were thrombocytopenic (23.9%). No severe haemorrhage occurred. There were no significant differences regarding the values of PAIgG or positive MAIPA tests between mothers of thrombocytopenic or healthy newborns. A significant difference, however, regarding the HLA DRB3* allele was found, with a high incidence in the subgroup of mothers of healthy newborns (P = 0.005). A similar trend was found among mothers with anti-GPIIbIIIa antibodies (P = 0.06). In contrast, HLA DRB5* allele appeared to be present especially in mothers of thrombocytopenic newborns (not significant). Our data suggest that mothers with AITP who have the HLA DRB3* genotype are unlikely to give birth to a thrombocytopenic baby. This study provides a preliminary report on a noninvasive test to identify infants who are likely to be affected.

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