Thrombocytopenia in a retrovirally-induced murine erythroleukemia

C. Gamba-Vitalo, J. Lobue, T. N. Fredrickson, S. M.E. Ien, J. Pedersen, A. S. Gordon, M. R. Pincus

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2 Scopus citations


A variant strain of Rauscher leukemia virus (RLV-A) obtained from a transplantable murine monomyelocytic leukemia causes a disease characterized by frank anemia, wasting, hepatosplenomegaly and erythroblastosis. The involvement of platelets in this disease are reported here. The RLV-A induced a severe thrombocytopenia (25 percent of control level) at the terminal stage of disease. This thrombocytopenia was not associated with disseminated intravascular coagulopathy since the prothrombin times were always within normal limits. The partial thromboplastin time was elevated in the terminal stages of disease and was found to be associated with factor deficiencies, possibly owing to the presence of anti-factor antibodies, in the intrinsic coagulation pathway, especially factor VIII. Further, splenectomy did not abolish the thrombocytopenia, since splenectomized, virally infected animals also developed severe thrombocytopenia (29 percent of control levels). The ensuing splenomegaly during progression of disease was not the cause of the thrombocytopenia. A physiological response to the severe thrombocytopenia was the production of larger size platelets. At terminal stages of the disease, platelet volume increased to 4.2 μ3 (normal is 3.0 μ3). An increase in platelet volume was also observed in splenectomized, virally infected animals. Electron microscopy indicated that these circulating platelets contained c-type viral particles. Viral infection was associated with decreased life span of circulating platelets, as measured by 75Se- methionine at mid and terminal stages of the disease. Our results suggest that direct viral infection of platelets and/or megakaryocytes with subsequent cell lysis is a possible cause of the observed thrombocytopenia observed in RLVA-induced disease and may also occur in other retrovirally- induced diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-397
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Laboratory Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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