To evaluate the physiologic importance of the different collagen receptors on platelets, we screened 806 patients admitted to the hospital because of hemorrhagic diathesis for eventual laboratory evidence of a pathologic platelet collagen interaction, and found 5 patients with an isolated deficiency in collagen-induced platelet aggregation. Four of these five patients had a partial defect, one had a complete defect. The structural and functional analysis of the platelets from the patient with a complete defect showed a deficiency in glycoprotein (GP) IV and autoantibodies against GPIIb/IIIa, GPIa/IIa, and GPIV. Patient plasma had only a minimal effect on normal control platelets and Naka-negative platelets. The analyses of the defect in the patient and of the data in the literature suggest that a single defect may not result in clinical bleeding (GPIV-deficient patients do not bleed), but may become symptomatic in combination with another defect such as the autoantibodies against GPIa/IIa, GPIV, and/or GPIIb/IIIa, all of which are involved in platelet collagen interactions (three of four of our immune thrombocytopenic purpura patients with anti-GPIV and anti-GPIIb/IIIa autoantibodies had a bleeding disorder). We hypothesize that it is the synergism of two abnormalities that results in the defective function, a mechanism that is in agreement with earlier studies on platelet collagen interaction that suggests that a double defect in platelet collagen interactions is required to become clinically apparent.

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