Key Points

  • Decreased numbers and/or impaired function of natural Treg cells participates in the pathogenesis of ITP.

  • Low-dose chidamide restored immune tolerance in ITP via modulation of natural Treg cells and CTLA4 gene expression.


Increased macrophage phagocytosis of antibody-coated platelets, as well as decreased numbers and/or impaired function of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, has been shown to participate in the pathogenesis of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Low-dose histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi’s) are anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory agents that can enhance immunosuppression in graft-versus-host disease by increasing the number and function of Foxp3+ Treg cells, but it is unclear whether they have the potential to promote immune tolerance and platelet release in ITP. In this study, we performed in vitro and in vivo experiments and found that a low-dose HDACi (chidamide) alleviated thrombocytopenia in passive and active murine models of ITP. Further, low-dose HDACi’s attenuated macrophage phagocytosis of antibody-coated platelets, stimulated the production of natural Foxp3+ Treg cells, promoted the peripheral conversion of T cells into Treg cells, and restored Treg cell suppression in vivo and in vitro. Finally, we confirmed that low-dose HDACi’s could regulate CTLA4 expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells through modulation of histone H3K27 acetylation. Low-dose HDACi treatment in ITP could be offset by blocking the effect of CTLA4. Therefore, we propose that low-dose chidamide administration has potential as a novel treatment for ITP in the clinic.

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