Off-the-shelf cryopreserved platelets for the detection of HIT and VITT antibodies

Adam J. Kanack, Curtis G. Jones, Bandana Singh, Rachel R. Leger, Noah P. Splinter, Nahla M. Heikal, Rajiv K. Pruthi, Dong Chen, Gemlyn George, Mouhamed Y. Abou-Ismail, Geoffrey D. Wool, Krishna Gundabolu, Anand Padmanabhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is suspected much more often than it is confirmed. Technically simple platelet factor 4 (PF4)-polyanion enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) are sensitive but nonspecific. In contrast, accurate functional tests such as the serotonin release assay, heparin-induced platelet activation assay, and PF4-dependent P-selectin expression assay require fresh platelets and have complex assay end points, limiting their availability to specialized reference laboratories. To enable broad deployment of functional testing, we sought to extend platelet viability significantly by optimizing storage conditions and developed a simple functional assay end point by measuring the release of a platelet α-granule protein, thrombospondin-1 (TSP1), in an ELISA format. Platelet cryopreservation conditions were optimized by freezing platelets at controlled cooling rates that preserve activatability. Several-month-old cryopreserved platelets were treated with PF4 or heparin and were evaluated for their ability to be activated by HIT and vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) antibodies in the TSP1 release assay (TRA). HIT and spontaneous HIT patient samples induced significantly higher TSP1 release using both PF4-treated (PF4-TRA) and heparin-treated cryopreserved platelets relative to samples from patients suspected of HIT who lacked platelet-activating antibodies. This latter group included several patients that tested strongly positive in PF4-polyanion ELISA but were not platelet-activating. Four VITT patient samples tested in the TRA activated PF4-treated, but not heparin-treated, cryopreserved platelets, consistent with recent data suggesting the requirement for PF4-treated platelets for VITT antibody detection. These findings have the potential to transform the testing paradigm in HIT and VITT, making decentralized, technically simple functional testing available for rapid and accurate in-hospital diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2722-2729
Number of pages8
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 22 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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