Desialylation is a mechanism of Fc-independent platelet clearance and a therapeutic target in immune thrombocytopenia

Li J, van der Wal DE, Zhu G, Xu M, Yougbare I, Ma L, Vadasz B, Carrim N, Grozovsky R, Ruan M, Zhu L, Zeng Q, Tao L, Zhai ZM, Peng J, Hou M, Leytin V, Freedman J, Hoffmeister KM, Ni H. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 17;6:7737. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8737. PMID: 26185093

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common bleeding disorder caused primarily by autoantibodies against platelet GPIIbIIIa and/or the GPIb complex. Current theory suggests that antibody-mediated platelet destruction occurs in the spleen, via macrophages through Fc-FcγR interactions. However, we and others have demonstrated that anti-GPIbα (but not GPIIbIIIa)-mediated ITP is often refractory to therapies targeting FcγR pathways. Here, we generate mouse anti-mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that recognize GPIbα and GPIIbIIIa of different species. Utilizing these unique mAbs and human ITP plasma, we find that anti-GPIbα, but not anti-GPIIbIIIa antibodies, induces Fc-independent platelet activation, sialidase neuraminidase-1 translocation and desialylation. This leads to platelet clearance in the liver via hepatocyte Ashwell-Morell receptors, which is fundamentally different from the classical Fc-FcγR-dependent macrophage phagocytosis. Importantly, sialidase inhibitors ameliorate anti-GPIbα-mediated thrombocytopenia in mice. These findings shed light on Fc-independent cytopenias, designating desialylation as a potential diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target in the treatment of refractory ITP.