Primary immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system generates antibodies that destroy platelets, the cells that cause blood to clot. B cells, immune cells that produce the antibodies that recognize the platelets, develop in the spleen.
ITP patients are typically treated with rituximab, a drug that deplete B cells; however, many patients stop responding to this treatment and must have their spleens removed.
In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Jean-Claude Weill and Claude-Agnès Reynaud at the Université Paris Descartes in Paris identified antibody-producing cells in the spleens of ITP patients that were not sensitive to B-cell depleting drugs.
The development of these cells was promoted by rituximab treatment and provides an explanation for why some patients develop refractory ITP.
TITLE: B-cell depletion in immune thrombocytopenia reveals splenic long-lived plasma cells