Genetic analysis of autoantibodies in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura reveals evidence of clonal expansion and somatic mutation Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Autoantibodies
  • Blood Platelets
  • Mutation
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic


  • Although idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is the most common autoimmune hematologic disorder, little is known about the associated autoantibodies on a molecular level. Consequently, diagnostic assays and therapy for ITP lack specificity. To avoid technical limitations imposed by B-cell immortalization methods, we used repertoire cloning (Fab/phage display) to clone platelet autoantibodies and examine the relation between immunoglobulin (Ig) gene usage, clonality, and antigen specificity. Phage display libraries were constructed from splenocytes from 2 patients with chronic ITP, and competitive cell-surface selection was used to isolate several dozen unique IgG platelet-specific autoantibodies. Platelet-reactive Fabs in both patients were associated almost exclusively with rearrangements of a single Ig heavy-chain variable-region gene (V(H)3-30), despite an apparent diversity of antigen specificities. Comparative analysis of platelet-reactive Fab Ig gene rearrangements from each patient suggested that they evolved from a restricted number of B-cell clones through somatic mutation with high replacement-to-silent mutation ratios. Although V(H)3-30-encoded heavy chains were found with light chains encoded by several different Ig genes, molecular repairing experiments showed exquisite restriction on the specific heavy- and light-chain pairings that permitted platelet reactivity. Together, these data suggest that the development of platelet-reactive antibodies associated with ITP is driven by an encounter with diverse platelet antigens through the clonal expansion of B cells using genetically restricted and highly specific combinations of heavy- and light-chain gene products. The extraordinarily high usage of the V(H)3-30 heavy-chain gene in these patients has implications for the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of chronic ITP.

publication date

  • August 15, 2002



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 12149222

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1388

end page

  • 98


  • 100


  • 4