Plateletpheresis-associated lymphopenia in frequent platelet donors

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Blood. 2019 Feb 7;133(6):605-614. doi: 10.1182/blood-2018-09-873125. Epub 2018 Nov 14.


More than 1 million apheresis platelet collections are performed annually in the United States. After 2 healthy plateletpheresis donors were incidentally found to have low CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts, we investigated whether plateletpheresis causes lymphopenia. We conducted a cross-sectional single-center study of platelet donors undergoing plateletpheresis with the Trima Accel, which removes leukocytes continuously with its leukoreduction system chamber. We recruited 3 groups of platelet donors based on the total number of plateletpheresis sessions in the prior 365 days: 1 or 2, 3 to 19, or 20 to 24. CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts were <200 cells per microliter in 0/20, 2/20, and 6/20 donors, respectively (P = .019), and CD8+ T-lymphocyte counts were low in 0/20, 4/20, and 11/20 donors, respectively (P < .001). The leukoreduction system chamber’s lymphocyte-extraction efficiency was ∼15% to 20% for all groups. Immunophenotyping showed decreases in naive CD4+ T-lymphocyte and T helper 17 (Th17) cell percentages, increases in CD4+ and CD8+ effector memory, Th1, and regulatory T cell percentages, and stable naive CD8+ and Th2 percentages across groups. T-cell receptor repertoire analyses showed similar clonal diversity in all groups. Donor screening questionnaires supported the good health of the donors, who tested negative at each donation for multiple pathogens, including HIV. Frequent plateletpheresis utilizing a leukoreduction system chamber is associated with CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell lymphopenia in healthy platelet donors. The mechanism may be repeated extraction of these cells during plateletpheresis. The cytopenias do not appear to be harmful.

PMID:30429159 | PMC:PMC6367645 | DOI:10.1182/blood-2018-09-873125