AIMS--To clarify the mechanisms involved in the development of EDTA dependent pseudothrombocytopenia, particularly the platelet receptors. METHODS--Platelets were measured in 33 patients with pseudothrombocytopenia, using different anticoagulants to collect blood samples (direct test). The results were compared with the counts obtained by adding patients' serum or immunoglobulins to normal blood samples (indirect test). The role of platelet function was explored using ASA, PGE1, and apyrase as platelet inhibitors. The contribution of platelet receptor/s was investigated using antigens to gpIb-IX and gpIIb-IIIa monoclonal antibodies. Immunoglobulin class was estimated by the ability of IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies to prevent platelet clumping. RESULTS--Agglutinating antibodies were IgA in 40%, IgG in 30%, and IgM in 10% of patients studied. Both patients' serum and immunoglobulins induced platelet clumping in normal samples anticoagulated with EDTA (indirect test). This was prevented by incubation of blood samples at 37 degrees C and almost completely inhibited by the platelet inhibitors ASA, PGE1, and apyrase. Pseudothrombocytopenia was also entirely prevented by an antigen to gpIIb-IIIa monoclonal antibody that recognises fibrinogen and the von Willebrand factor binding site. Pseudothrombocytopenia was almost completely abolished after the addition of RGD peptide, the recognition sequence of cytoadhesive proteins. CONCLUSIONS--These findings suggest that EDTA dependent pseudothrombocytopenia is caused by agglutinating antibodies that recognise cytoadhesive receptors on platelet gpIIb-IIIa and that an efficient platelet metabolism is required.
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