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A transforming growth factor-beta1-mediated bystander immune suppression could be associated with remission of chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Journal article
Authors Per-Ola Andersson
Dick Stockelberg
Stefan Jacobsson
Hans Wadenvik
Published in Annals of hematology
Volume 79
Issue 9
Pages 507-13
ISSN 0939-5555
Publication year 2000
Published at Institute of Internal Medicine, Dept of Medicine
Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Dept of Clinical Chemistry/Transfusion Medicine
Pages 507-13
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Chronic Disease, Cytokines, blood, Female, Humans, Immune Tolerance, drug effects, Interferon-gamma, blood, Interleukin-1, blood, Interleukin-4, blood, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Subsets, immunology, Male, Middle Aged, Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic, immunology, Remission Induction, Th1 Cells, secretion, Th2 Cells, secretion, Transforming Growth Factor beta, blood, pharmacology, Transforming Growth Factor beta1
Subject categories Molecular medicine, Hematology


Bystander immune suppression has been demonstrated in experimental models of oral immune tolerance induction. This phenomenon is associated with expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and T-helper cell (Th) 2 cytokines. We have studied serum levels of Th cytokines and B- and T-lymphocyte subsets in chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a disorder in which the production of platelet autoantibodies might be caused by a cytokine network dysregulation. Forty-six patients with ITP were separated into three groups depending on the platelet count (pltc): (1) < 50 x 10(9)/l, (2) 50-150 x 10(9)/l and (3) > 150 x 10(9)/l. We found significantly elevated plasma levels of the Th3 cytokine TGF-beta1 in patients with pltc >150x10(9)/l (23.5+/-2.8ng/ml), compared with patients with pltc <50x10(9)/l (2.3+/-0.6 ng/ml; P<0.0001), patients with pltc 50-150x 10(9)/l (7.2+/-1.7 ng/ml; P<0.0001) and healthy volunteers (9.8+/-1.3 ng/ml; P<0.01). The serum levels of the Thl cytokines interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon (IFN)-y were below the detection limits of the assays. Likewise, the Th2 cytokine IL-4 was not detectable or was very low both in patients and controls. The serum levels of IL-10, a Th2 cytokine, were within the assay range and patients with pltc <50 x 10(9)/l had significantly lower levels (0.6+/-0.1 pg/ml) than both patients with pltc 50-150 x 10(9)/l (1.8 +/- 0.1 pg/ml; P<0.005) and healthy volunteers (1.4+/-0.1 pg/ml; P<0.005). Furthermore, patients with pltc <50 x 10(9)/l and splenectomised patients had significantly higher levels of CD4 + CD25 + activated T cells [26.2 +/- 14.8% (P<0.05) and 26.7+/-11.9% (P<0.005), respectively] than healthy controls (16.5+/-4.0%). Also, the number of natural killer (NK) cells among patients with pltc >150 x 10(9)/l were significantly elevated (26.6+/-16.0%; P<0.05) compared with controls (17.4+/-7.6%). In conclusion, our data corroborate previous findings of elevated numbers of activated T cells in chronic ITP patients with active disease, but neither a clear-cut Th1 nor a Th2 serum cytokine profile could be established. However, ITP in remission was associated with elevated TGF-beta1, which might be a part of a bystander immune suppression. We propose that the effect of possible expression of TGF-beta1 by oral immune tolerance induction deserves to be explored in ITP patients with an active disease.

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