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Volume 39, Number 6, December 2006

Thrombopoietin and interleukin-6 levels in Henoch-Schönlein purpura

Chih-Yang Lin, Yao-Hsu Yang, Chien-Chang Lee, Chou-Lang Huang, Li-Chieh Wang, Bor-Luen Chiang
Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Received: July 12, 2005    Revised: March 30, 2006    Accepted: April 12, 2006   


Corresponding author:

Bor-Luen Chiang, Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Fl. 7, No. 7, Chung-Shan S. Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Background and purpose: 

Depending on the severity of the illness, thrombocytosis is found in about 60% to 70% of patients with Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP). Whether thrombocytosis is the result of an inflammatory reaction mediated by thrombopoietin (TPO) or other inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6 remains unknown.




Thirty two patients who met the diagnostic criteria for HSP were included. They were divided into two groups — HSP patients with thrombocytosis (n = 14) and those without thrombocytosis (n = 18) with a platelet count of 400,000/µL. Eight normal healthy controls were also included. TPO and IL-6 serum levels during the acute phase were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.




Patients with platelet counts greater than 400,000/µL in the acute stage had significantly lower TPO levels than patients with platelet counts lower than 400,000/µL (310 ± 65.6 pg/mL vs 608 ± 97.8 pg/mL, p=0.013). However, HSP patients with or without thrombocytosis had similar TPO levels as the healthy controls (441 ± 176 pg/mL, p=0.89 and 0.29, respectively). IL-6 serum levels were significantly elevated in HSP patients during the acute stage of HSP (28.6 ± 61.7 pg/mL vs 3.16 ± 1.35 pg/mL, p=0.049). In patients with complications of glomerulonephritis or gastrointestinal hemorrhage (n = 12), IL-6 levels were significantly lower than in those without such complications (8.07 ± 3.79 pg/mL vs 40.9 ± 16.9 pg/mL, p=0.007).




This study showed that thrombocytosis in HSP patients is a type of inflammatory reactive thrombocytosis, and that IL-6 may also play a role in the pathogenesis of HSP.



Key words:

Henoch-Schoenlein purpura, interleukin-6, nephritis, thrombocytosis, thrombopoietin



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2006;39:476-482.