Inserm, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Faculté de pharmacie, Aix Marseille Université

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Platelet and not erythrocyte microparticles are procoagulant in transfused thalassaemia major patients

Agouti I, Cointe S, Robert S, Judicone C, Loundou A, Driss F, Brisson A, Steschenko D, Rose C, Pondarré C, Bernit E, Badens C, Dignat-George F, Lacroix R, Thuret I.
Br J Haematol. 2015 Nov ;171(4):615-24.

The level of circulating platelet-, erythrocyte-, leucocyte- and endothelial-derived microparticles detected by high-sensitivity flow cytometry was investigated in 37 β-thalassaemia major patients receiving a regular transfusion regimen. The phospholipid procoagulant potential of the circulating microparticles and the microparticle-dependent tissue factor activity were evaluated. A high level of circulating erythrocyte- and platelet-microparticles was found. In contrast, the number of endothelial microparticles was within the normal range. Platelet microparticles were significantly higher in splenectomized than in non-splenectomized patients, independent of platelet count (P < 0·001). Multivariate analysis indicated that phospholipid-dependent procoagulant activity was influenced by both splenectomy (P = 0·001) and platelet microparticle level (P < 0·001). Erythrocyte microparticles were not related to splenectomy, appear to be devoid of proper procoagulant activity and no relationship between their production and haemolysis, dyserythropoiesis or oxidative stress markers could be established. Intra-microparticle labelling with anti-HbF antibodies showed that they originate only partially (median of 28%) from thalassaemic erythropoiesis. In conclusion, when β-thalassaemia major patients are intensively transfused, the procoagulant activity associated with thalassaemic erythrocyte microparticles is probably diluted by transfusions. In contrast, platelet microparticles, being both more elevated and more procoagulant, especially after splenectomy, may contribute to the residual thrombotic risk reported in splenectomized multi-transfused β-thalassaemia major patients.