Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune bleeding disorder mediated by antiplatelet autoantibodies and antigen-specific T cells that either destroy platelets peripherally in the spleen or impair platelet production in the bone marrow. There have been a plethora of publications relating to the pathophysiology of ITP and since January of 2019, at least 50 papers have been published on ITP pathophysiology.
Purpose of review
To summarize the literature relating to the pathophysiology of ITP including the working mechanisms of therapies, T-cell and B-cell physiology, protein/RNA/DNA biochemistry, and animal models in an attempt to unify the perceived abnormal immune processes.
The most recent pathophysiologic irregularities associated with ITP relate to abnormal T-cell responses, particularly, defective T regulatory cell activity and how therapeutics can restore these responses. The robust literature on T cells in ITP points to the notion that ITP is a disease initiated by faulty self-tolerance mechanisms very much like that of other organ-specific autoimmune diseases. There is also a large literature on new and existing animal models of ITP and these will be discussed. It appears that understanding how to specifically modulate T cells in patients with ITP will undoubtedly lead to effective antigen-specific therapeutics.
ITP is predominately a T cell disorder which leads to a breakdown in self tolerance mechanisms and allows for the generation of anti-platelet autoantibodies and T cells. Novel therapeutics that target T cells may be the most effective way to perhaps cure this disorder.