Glucocorticoids are a widely recognized first-line therapy for immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). However, some patients are unresponsive to glucocorticoid therapy for reasons that remain unclear. Accumulating evidence suggests that CD4+ T-cell abnormalities play a crucial role in the development of ITP. In the present study, we investigated peripheral blood CD4+ T cells, Th17-associated cytokines, and the mRNA expression level of Th17 transcription factor—RORγt—in patients with newly-diagnosed ITP before glucocorticoid therapy. The study involved 27 newly-diagnosed patients. Th17-cell levels in the peripheral blood of newly-diagnosed ITP patients were associated with responsiveness to glucocorticoid therapy. Newly-diagnosed ITP patients who were not sensitive to glucocorticoid treatment were found to have lower levels of Th17 cells. Quantifying Th17 cells may allow physicians to predict prognosis of glucocorticoid treatment and stratify therapy for those with ITP. This strategy may provide a new approach to the treatment of glucocorticoid-insensitive patients.
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