Platelet Antibody Detection

Alternate Names

  • Antiplatelet Antibody Detection

Platelets are a blood component made in the bone marrow necessary for normal blood clotting. When injury occurs, platelets will clump (aggregate) at the site, which forms a blood clot and stops the bleeding. Autoimmune diseases cause the body to attack itself, which leads to inflammation and results in damage to muscles, tissues, and organs. The inflammation produces antibodies in the blood that can be measured and the levels used to diagnose specific autoimmune diseases. Antibodies in the blood that attack and destroy platelets can be due either to autoimmune disease, or the development of antibodies against donor blood following a blood transfusion. The destruction of platelets then leads to decreased blood clotting and an increase in abnormal bleeding (thrombocytopenia).

Medications such as heparin are sometimes given to decrease clotting time. The body will develop an autoimmune response to the medication and produce antibodies, which results in a drug-induced thrombocytopenia.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disease with no identified cause. ITP leads to the development of small purple bruises (purpura) inside the mouth, on the extremities, or the entire body; may also result in nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and internal bleeding.

Maternal-fetal platelet antigen incompatibility (neonatal thrombocytopenia) is a condition during pregnancy where the mother's body produces antibodies against her unborn baby's blood. This is usually caused by an Rh factor incompatibility between the mother's and the baby's blood, but can also be caused if the mother has ITP. The mother's antibodies are able to cross the placenta, which destroy the baby's platelets, leading to abnormal and excessive bleeding.

Posttransfusion purpura will develop as an immune response by the body against donor blood, following the transfusion of either whole blood or platelets. The autoimmune response leads to the formation of small purple bruises (purpura) on the inside of the mouth, on the extremities, or the entire body, as well as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and internal bleeding.

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