Intravenous anti-D is often used in the treatment of autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (AITP), but little is known about its mechanisms of action. To investigate anti-D's potential in vivo mechanism(s) of action, a small group (N = 7) of children with chronic AITP was studied. The children initially received either 25 or 50 microg/kg of WinRho-SD in a four-cycle cross-over trial,
and peripheral blood samples from the first and third cycles were assessed for cytokine levels at pre-treatment, 3 hr, 1 day, and 8 days post-treatment. Results showed that platelet counts significantly increased in all the children by day 8 post-treatment. Analysis of serum by ELISA showed that there was a significant but transient rise in both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine/chemokine levels (e.g., IL1RA, IL6, GM-CSF, MCP-1 alpha, TNF-alpha and MCP-1) by 3 hr post-treatment in both cycles which returned to baseline levels by 8 days post-treatment. These results suggest that anti-D administration may initially activate the RES in the form of cytokine/chemokine secretion, which is subsequently followed by an increase in platelet counts. It is possible that the induced cytokine/chemokine storm may have an effect on several physiological processes such as those mediating either adverse effects or potentially RES phagocytic activity.