Thrombocytopenia in patients with acute systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) frequently presents the clinician with considerable diagnostic and therapeutic difficulties. In this Grand Round, we present a 48-yr-old woman with a 7 yr history of lupus, who presented with acute proliferative glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome, pneumonia, profound hypocomplementaemia and a severe microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia with associated thrombocytopenia. Her thrombocytopenia proved initially refractory to conventional immunosuppressive therapy, and corticosteroids, and resolved only with plasma exchange and repeated fresh frozen plasma infusions. Serological testing revealed high-titre antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and markedly raised antibodies to double-stranded (ds) DNA, but no significant elevation in anticardiolipin antibodies. Platelet-associated IgG and IgM and antibodies to the CD36 glycoprotein antigen, expressed on platelets and endothelium, were detected in the serum. We address some of the difficult diagnostic and management issues raised by this complex patient and the possible immunopathological links between antibodies to CD36, immune-mediated red cell destruction, thrombocytopenia and thrombotic microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||British journal of rheumatology|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|