Leukoreduced red blood cell transfusions do not induce platelet glycoprotein antibodies in patients with sickle cell disease

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BACKGROUND:Alloimmunization to red blood cell (RBC) antigens after transfusion is well described in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). We recently demonstrated that leukocyte-reduced RBC transfusions appeared to induce human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies in some children with SCD; now, we hypothesize that residual platelets contained in transfused RBC products may lead to platelet glycoprotein antibody formation.STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:A cross-sectional study was conducted among never pregnant pediatric patients with SCD who either had received many RBC transfusions or had never received any transfusions. Serum was tested for antibodies to platelet-specific glycoproteins using a commercial enzyme immunoassay.RESULTS:Platelet-specific glycoprotein antibodies were found in 12 of 90 patients (13%) in the transfused group versus 5 of 24 patients (21%) in the never transfused group (p = 0.35). The prevalence of antibodies as well as the median standardized optical density for these two groups was not significantly different for any of the studied platelet glycoprotein antigens. There was no association with the presence of platelet-specific glycoprotein antibodies with either RBC or HLA antibodies.CONCLUSIONS:Leukocyte-reduced RBC transfusions do not appear to induce platelet-specific glycoprotein antibodies. The positive platelet-specific glycoprotein antibody results from this study may represent platelet autoantibodies, platelet alloantibodies, or false-positive reactions. A better understanding of the immunobiology of patients with SCD at baseline and after blood product exposure may help improve future transfusion and transplantation.

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