Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia: in vitro studies on the interaction of dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and low-sulfated heparin, with platelet factor 4 and anti-PF4/heparin antibodies.

Institut für Immunologie und Transfusionsmedizin, Universitä Greifswald, Sauerbruchstrasse, Greifswald, Germany.
Blood (Impact Factor: 9.78). 11/2011; 119(5):1248-55. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2011-05-353391
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Heparin is a widely used anticoagulant. Because of its negative charge, it forms complexes with positively charged platelet factor 4 (PF4). This can induce anti-PF4/heparin IgG Abs. Resulting immune complexes activate platelets, leading to the prothrombotic adverse drug reaction heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). HIT requires treatment with alternative anticoagulants. Approved for HIT are 2 direct thrombin inhibitors (DTI; lepirudin, argatroban) and danaparoid. They are niche products with limitations. We assessed the effects of the DTI dabigatran, the direct factor Xa-inhibitor rivaroxaban, and of 2-O, 3-O desulfated heparin (ODSH; a partially desulfated heparin with minimal anticoagulant effects) on PF4/heparin complexes and the interaction of anti-PF4/heparin Abs with platelets. Neither dabigatran nor rivaroxaban had any effect on the interaction of PF4 or anti-PF4/heparin Abs with platelets. In contrast, ODSH inhibited PF4 binding to gel-filtered platelets, displaced PF4 from a PF4-transfected cell line, displaced PF4/heparin complexes from platelet surfaces, and inhibited anti-PF4/heparin Ab binding to PF4/heparin complexes and subsequent platelet activation. Dabigatran and rivaroxaban seem to be options for alternative anticoagulation in patients with a history of HIT. ODSH prevents formation of immunogenic PF4/heparin complexes, and, when given together with heparin, may have the potential to reduce the risk for HIT during treatment with heparin.

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