Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disease mediated by anti-platelet autoantibodies. We recently established a mouse ITP model exhibiting regulatory T-cell (Treg) deficiency, although only one-third of the Treg-deficient mice developed ITP. To clarify mechanisms involved in the emergence of platelet-specific autoimmunity in this model, we examined the T helper (Th)-cell balance and macrophage Fcγ receptor (FcγR) expression profiles in Treg-deficient mice with and without ITP. Splenocytes from both populations of Treg-deficient mice and control BALB/c mice were subjected to flow cytometry-based analyses to evaluate Th cell subset proportions and the expression of activating and inhibitory FcγRs on macrophages. In addition, IgG subclass distribution of anti-platelet autoantibodies in splenocyte culture supernatants was determined by flow cytometry using IgG subclass-specific antibodies. Treg-deficient ITP mice exhibited a significantly higher proportion of Th1 cells than either Treg-deficient non-ITP or control mice. The predominant anti-platelet autoantibody subclasses in the ITP mice were Th1-associated IgG2a and IgG2b. Furthermore, the FcγRI/FcγRIIB expression ratio in splenic macrophages was higher in the Treg-deficient ITP than in the Treg-deficient non-ITP and control mice. In summary, Th1 polarization and macrophages’ activating FcγR expression profile are associated with the development of ITP in Treg-deficient mice.
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