To clarify the regulatory mechanism of thrombopoietin (TPO, c-Mpl ligand) in chronic thrombocytopenic conditions, we determined TPO levels in the sera of patients with aplastic anaemia (AA; n = 26) and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP; n = 32) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Despite a similarity in platelet counts, serum TPO levels in the AA group were markedly higher than those in the ITP group: 20.41 ± 9.71 f mol/ml (mean ± SD) and 1.66 ± 0.55 f mol/ml, respectively, both of which were significantly elevated compared to normal subjects (n = 41; 1.22 ± 0.37). In both groups, serum TPO level showed an inverse correlation with the platelet count. We determined the megakaryocyte volume using bone marrow clot section and found that it was markedly small in the AA group; while in the ITP group it was augmented with a correlation to serum TPO level. Our findings suggest that TPO levels may be regulated not only by platelets but also megakaryocytes in AA and ITP.
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