This article was originally published here
Thromb J. 2021 Sep 15;19(1):66. doi: 10.1186/s12959-021-00318-2.
BACKGROUND: This is a review article on heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, an adverse effect of heparin therapy, and vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, occurring in some patients administered certain coronavirus vaccines.
MAIN BODY/TEXT: Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia occurs when specific antibodies bind to platelet factor 4 /heparin complexes. Platelet factor 4 is a naturally occurring chemokine, and under certain conditions, may complex with negatively charged molecules and polyanions, including heparin. The antibody-platelet factor 4/heparin complex may lead to platelet activation, accompanied by other cascading reactions, resulting in cerebral sinus thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis, lower limb arterial thrombosis, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, skin necrosis, and thrombotic stroke. If untreated, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia can be life threatening. In parallel, rare incidents of spontaneous vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia can also occur in some patients administered certain coronavirus vaccines. The role of platelet factor 4 in vaccine-induced thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome further reinforces the importance the platelet factor 4/polyanion immune complexes and the complications that this might pose to susceptible individuals. These findings demonstrate, how auxiliary factors can complicate heparin therapy and drug development. An increasing interest in biomanufacturing heparins from non-animal sources has driven a growing interest in understanding the biology of immune-mediated heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, and therefore, the development of safe and effective biosynthetic heparins.
SHORT CONCLUSION: In conclusion, these findings further reinforce the importance of the binding of platelet factor 4 with known and unknown polyanions, and the complications that these might pose to susceptible patients. In parallel, these findings also demonstrate how auxiliary factors can complicate the heparin drug development.