Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) is a potentially fatal condition and in the majority of cases is associated with maternal antibodies to the HPA-1a(PLA1) haplotype. Early diagnosis in utero can enhance survival rates. The application of DNA genomic analysis and PCR technology for the determination of the HPA-1a/HPA-1b (PLA1/PLA2) locus is described and applied in a family study where the fetus was diagnosed to have NAIT. This rapid technique differentiated between the 3 haplotypes HPA-1a/HPA-1a, HPA-1b/HPA-1b and HPA-1a/HPA-1b using the polymorphism at base 196 of the GPIIIa gene. This is the first Australian report on the establishment of this technology for platelet genotype typing and the application in the diagnosis of NAIT.
This technique can be performed on DNA extracted from any nucleated cells and avoids the difficulty of requiring fetal platelets for serological typing when NAIT is suspected. The PCR technique of genomic DNA analysis has an important application in the prediction and management of this potentially severe condition.