Qualitative disorders of platelets are often missed at clinical evaluation. Hermansky-Pudlak (HPS) syndrome is a rare genetic metabolic disorder with subtype specific clinical associations most prevalent in Puerto Rico with strong link to consanguinity. HPS is usually associated with albinism, visual impairment and a qualitative platelet dysfunction due to absence of dense granules. Ceroid accumulation can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, pulmonary fibrosis and kidney disease. Ten variants have been described with types 1, 2 and 4 associated with severe disease whilst type 3, 5 and 6 is associated with mild disease. Little is known about types 7, 8, 9 and 10. A Caucasian adult female presented with a history of intermittent episodes of severe bleeding. She carried the diagnosis of probable von Willebrand's disease at presentation. This particular patient did not respond to cryoprecipitate infusion but bleeding stopped secondary to infusion of normal platelets, a clue to a platelet storage disorder. Hence she was re-investigated for a bleeding disorder and initial coagulation testing identified abnormal platelet aggregation and amplitude pattern to epinephrine. She was subsequently evaluated with platelet transmission electron microscopy and platelet flow cytometry at the Mayo Clinic Hematopathology. Platelet TEM showed complete absence of dense granules and a normal flow cytometry. HPS was suspected and initial genetic studies identified a variant genetic abnormality. Further studies were done at the NIH. Classical clinical features of HPS like nystagmus, and ocular albinism was not identified at initial neurological and ophthalmologic examination. But more detailed evaluation revealed subclinical oculocutaneous albinism. Genome wide SNP analysis showed regions of homozygosity including HPS 1 and HPS 6; deletions were not identified in these genes. Full length HPS1 transcript was amplified by PCR of genomic DNA. Targeted next-generation sequencing identified a novel homozygous missense variant [c.383T>C (p.V128A)] in HPS6. Reduced HPS6 mRNA levels were found in the patient's skin fibroblasts compared to cells from patients with HPS-1 and normal control cells. HPS6 protein expression in the patient's cells was also low and approximately 60% lower than that of normal cells. HPS is a rare platelet storage disorder that can often be missed. Platelet aggregation tests need to be followed up by platelet TEM and genetic testing to definitively diagnose this condition. Further work up has defined a new missense variant by SNP analysis, next generation sequencing and fibroblast culture. It is important to identify the subtype of HPS, because certain subtypes of HPS (HPS 1, 2 and 4) have clinical manifestations like progressive pulmonary fibrosis. Identification of the platelet storage disorder also helps in management of the bleeding diathesis.
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