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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Enhanced endothelial cell apoptosis in splenic tissues of patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Idiopathic thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a thrombotic microangiopathy of obscure etiology. The fundamental pathologic lesion is a hyaline thrombus composed of platelets and some fibrin accompanied by endothelial cell proliferation and detachment, in the absence of an inflammatory response. We have previously demonstrated that plasmas from patients with both idiopathic TTP and a related disorder, sporadic hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), induce apoptosis and expression of the apoptosis-associated molecule Fas (CD95) in vitro in those lineages of microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) that are affected pathologically. We now demonstrate the presence of enhanced MVEC apoptosis in splenic tissues from patients with TTP, documented by terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and morphology. This is accompanied by elevated Fas expression. It contrasts with the absence of apoptosis in splenic tissues obtained after splenectomy for trauma or immune thrombocytopenic purpura. TUNEL-positive cells, identified by immunohistochemistry as MVECs or macrophages, presumably engulfing apoptotic ECs, are noted in numerous areas, including those apart from microthrombi. Thus, it is unlikely that EC apoptosis is simply a sequela of thrombus formation. Based on these data, we propose that MVEC apoptosis is of pathophysiologic significance in idiopathic TTP/sporadic HUS.[1]


  1. Enhanced endothelial cell apoptosis in splenic tissues of patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Dang, C.T., Magid, M.S., Weksler, B., Chadburn, A., Laurence, J. Blood (1999) [Pubmed]
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