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Increased number of B-cells in the red pulp of the spleen in ITP

Journal article
Authors Bob Olsson
Börje Ridell
Margareta Jernås
Hans Wadenvik
Published in Annals of Hematology
Volume 91
Issue 2
Pages 271-277
ISSN 1432-0584
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Pathology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Pages 271-277
Language en
Keywords ITP, Spleen, B-cells, T-cells, Leukocytes, Splenectomy
Subject categories Physiology


Platelets are targeted by autoantibodies and destroyed in the reticuloendothelial system in the spleen, liver and bone marrow in patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Other mechanisms such as destruction by cytotoxic T-cells and defective production of platelets in the bone marrow also exist. Splenectomy normalizes the platelet count in 70% of ITP patients, however, precious little is known about the spleen in this disease. Our aim was therefore to investigate the splenic morphology and especially the number and localization of splenic leukocytes in patients with ITP and controls and to evaluate factors predicting outcome of splenectomy. Spleen sections from 29 ITP patients and 11 individuals splenectomized due to trauma were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. All except one of the ITP patients had a normalized platelet count 12 months after splenectomy and the platelet count was inversely correlated with age. ITP patients had an increased number of B-cells in the red pulp. The number of white pulp B-cells and number of T-cells in both compartments was unchanged. In conclusion, B-cells are increased in the red pulp of the spleen and together with cytotoxic T-cells, helper T-cells and macrophages line the sinusoids enabling the immunological attack on platelets in ITP.

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