The pathogenic role of B cells in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) has justified the therapeutic use of anti-CD20 antibodies such as rituximab (RTX). However, 60% of ITP patients do not respond to RTX. To decipher the mechanisms implicated in the failure of RTX, and because the spleen plays a well-recognized role in ITP pathogenesis, 12 spleens from ITP patients who had been nonresponders to RTX therapy were compared with 11 spleens from RTX-untreated ITP patients and 9 controls. We here demonstrate that in RTX-nonresponder ITP patients, preferential Th1 and Tc1 T lymphocyte polarizations occur, associated with an increase in splenic effector memory CD8+ T-cell frequency. Moreover, in the RTX-nonresponder patient group, the CD8+ T-cell repertoire displays a restricted pattern. In the blood, the phenotype of CD8+ T cells before and after RTX treatment is not modified in responders or nonresponders. Altogether, these results demonstrate for the first time an activation of splenic CD8+ T cells in ITP patients who did not respond to RTX and suggest their involvement in platelet destruction in these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology