IL-6 Autoantibodies Predict Lower Platelet Counts and Altered Plasma Cytokine Profiles in Healthy Blood Donors: Results From the Danish Blood Donor Study

Jakob Hjorth von Stemann*, Ole Birger Vesterager Pedersen, Henrik Hjalgrim, Christian Erikstrup, Henrik Ullum, Joseph Dowsett, Lise Wegner Thørner, Margit Anita Hørup Larsen, Erik Sørensen, Morten Bagge Hansen, Sisse Rye Ostrowski

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Abstract

Cytokine-specific autoantibodies (c-aAb) represent a novel type of immune dysfunction. Though they have been detected in both patient cohorts and healthy individuals, and have immunomodulatory properties, the full extent of their influence remains unknown. Based on the critical role of several cytokines in thrombopoiesis, we investigated if there is an association between c-aAb and platelet variables in healthy individuals, with a specific focus on c-aAb against a known thrombopoietic cytokine, IL-6. Using platelet count and mean platelet volume in 3,569 healthy participants of the Danish Blood Donor Study as dependent variables, we performed a series of multivariate regression analyses using five cytokine autoantibodies, including IL-6 c-aAb, as independent variables. In men, high titers of IL-6 c-aAb were negatively associated with platelet counts (β = -24 *109/l (95% confidence interval -43 to -6), p = 0.008) and positively associated with mean platelet volume (β = 0.4 fL (95% confidence interval 0.0-0.7) p = 0.043). These associations were exacerbated when adjusting for undetectable C-reactive protein levels, which we used as a proxy for c-aAb mediated IL-6 inhibition in vivo. Furthermore, in a smaller subgroup, individuals with high vs. low titer IL-6 c-aAb had different profiles of plasma IL-6, IL-10, TNFα and TPO, further suggesting a functional inhibition of IL-6 by high titers of circulating IL-6 c-aAb. We therefore speculate that in addition to their immunomodulatory potential IL-6 c-aAb may interfere with thrombopoiesis - directly or indirectly - under normal physiological conditions. This study is the first to suggest an influence of c-aAb on platelets in healthy individuals, beyond their apparent effects on immune competence.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer914262
TidsskriftFrontiers in Medicine
Vol/bind9
ISSN2296-858X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2022

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