Immune-Mediated Platelet Destruction

In addition to ITP, there are other diseases where the immune system causes platelet destruction in the bone marrow or in circulation, resulting in thrombocytopenia. 

Common types of immune-mediated platelet destruction include:

Acquired aplastic anemia 

Aplastic anemia is a group of inherited and acquired disorders characterized by pancytopenia, low blood cell counts for all blood cell types. Evidence is accumulating that the disorder is immune-mediated.

Resources and research providing insight into acquired aplastic anemia include:

Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (NAITP, NAIT)

(Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia in Newborns)

Rarely, a fetus may inherit a platelet antigen or “type” from the father that looks different to the mother’s immune system than her own platelets. In this case, the mother’s immune system develops antibodies to the platelets of the growing fetus, resulting in the baby being born with an extremely low platelet count.

Resources and research providing insight into NAITP/NAIT include:

Fetal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (FAITP, FAIT)

Fetal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FAIT) is similar to NAITP described above in that both disorders involve the mother's antibody attacking the fetus' (and later the newborn's) platelets. In FAIT the condition is discovered and possibly treated before the baby is born.

Resources and research providing insight into FAIT include:

Other Causes of Newborn Thrombocytopenia

Other conditions associated with low platelets in newborns include:

  • Congenital abnormalities such as Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, thrombocytopenia-absent radius (TAR) syndrome and Paris-Trousseau
  • Metabolic diseases including methylmalonicacidemia, ketotic glycemia or isovalericacidemia
  • And other genetic diseases such as Fanconi's anemia, and infections including bacterial sepsis.

Resources and research providing insight into other casus of newborn thrombocytopenia include:

Post-Transfusion Purpura (PTP)

A rare complication of blood transfusions, post-transfusion purpura (PTP) is characterized by severe thrombocytopenia occurring several days to a week after receiving blood or platelets. This condition generally occurs in women who have previously developed antibodies against foreign platelets during pregnancy (alloantigens). These individuals do not have problems until they are exposed to foreign platelets by transfusion later in life. The immune response affects not only the transfused platelets, but also the patient’s own platelets.

Resources and research providing insight into PTP and thrombocytopenia include:

Cyclic (cyclical) Thrombocytopenia

Cyclic thrombocytopenia is a rare platelet disorder characterized by regular fluctuations in platelet count often, but not necessarily, coinciding with a menstrual cycle. 

Resources and research providing insight into cyclic thrombocytopenia include:

Common Variable Immune Deficiency

Common variable immune deficiency is a genetic disorder characterized by a low level of protective antibodies, recurrent infections and possibly a large spleen. About 25 percent of people with this type of immune deficiency develop ITP. Primary immunodeficiency (PID) can also present with low platelets.

Resources and research offering more insight into common variable immune deficiency include:

Immune Deficiency Foundation
Advocacy & Awareness for Immune Disorders Association



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