Background and Objective: In patients with Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), thrombocytopenia is less common than thrombocytosis. An increased prevalence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), which is associated with thrombocytopenia, has been noted in patients with WG. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between thrombocytopenia and aPL in patients with WG. Methods: Thrombocytopenic episodes were searched for in a random sample of 83 patients with WG. Stored sera obtained during thrombocytopenia, which was defined as platelet count below 130 × 109/L, were examined by 2 different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for IgG and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) and for IgG antiphosphatidylserine antibodies (aPS). Screening for lupus anticoagulant was performed by use of activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT). Results were compared with the prevalence of aPL in 20 consecutive nonthrombocytopenic patients with WG. Results: Six cases with thrombocytopenic episodes were found in the group of 83 patients with WG. Increased IgG and IgM aCL were detected in 1 patient, who also had elevated IgG aPS. A positive test result solely for IgM aCL was found in another patient. These findings were consistent in both ELISA for aPL. Five patients were being treated with cyclophosphamide when thrombocytopenia occurred. In the group of nonthrombocytopenic patients with WG, elevated IgG aCL and IgG aPS were consistently detected in 1 patient in both ELISA. Three other patients had positive results in single tests, which were not confirmed by the second assay. In all patients, aPTT was normal. Conclusions: Thrombocytopenia is a rare finding in patients with WG. A similar prevalence of aPL in thrombocytopenic and nonthrombocytopenic patients with WG provides no evidence that aPL play a major role in the pathogenesis of these events. Thrombocytopenia in WG is more likely caused by the myelotoxic effect of preceding cyclophosphamide treatment. We found a frequency of aPL in WG that exceeds frequencies seen in the general population but does not approximate those detected in systemic lupus erythematosus and closely related disorders.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)