We serially evaluated the effects of sepsis and/or necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) on neonatal thrombopoiesis, using a panel of tests that included platelet counts, thrombopoietin concentrations (Tpo), circulating megakaryocyte progenitor concentrations (CMPs), and reticulated platelets (RPs). Variables analyzed included sepsis type, time after onset of sepsis, platelet counts, and gestational (GA) and postconceptional ages (PCA). Twenty neonates were enrolled. Ten had Gram-negative, six had Gram-positive, and four had presumed sepsis. Four neonates had NEC stage II or higher, and six developed thrombocytopenia. Overall, septic neonates had significantly elevated Tpo concentrations and circulating megakaryocyte progenitors. The highest Tpo levels were associated with Gram-negative or presumed sepsis. RP percentages were increased only in neonates with low platelet counts, while RP counts (RP% x platelet count) were elevated in neonates with high platelet counts. Our findings suggest that septic neonates up-regulate Tpo production, leading to increased megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet release, although the degree of upregulation is moderate. The changes in RP% and RP count most likely reflect increased thrombopoiesis with variable degrees of platelet consumption. In addition, our findings suggest that different factors, likely including level of illness and/or specific platelet or bacterial products, can down-regulate the magnitude of the thrombopoietic response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health