Reticulated platelets: analytical aspects and clinical utility
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 52(8): 1107-1117
ISSN/ISBN: 1437-4331 PMID: 24807169 DOI: 10.1515/cclm-2014-0165
Reticulated platelets are immature platelets circulating in blood; they reflect the activity of megakaryopoiesis in the bone marrow. Therefore, they can be used as a non-invasive test in patients with thrombocytopenia in various clinical conditions. The preferred method of analysis is by flow cytometry. However, there is an evident lack of analytical standardization, making it difficult to compare results obtained in different laboratories. Currently, two types of hematology analyzers are on the market offering fully automated measurement of reticulated or immature platelets: the high end analyzers manufactured by Sysmex (XE- and XN-series) and Abbott (CELL-DYN Sapphire). Although the methods are essentially different and cannot be used interchangeably, both have been proven to have clinical utility. Reticulated or immature platelet assays are useful for the differential diagnosis of thrombocytopenia and for monitoring bone marrow recovery after chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation. These assays may aid clinicians in platelet transfusion decisions when recovery from thrombocytopenia is imminent. In addition, preliminary findings indicate that there is a rationale for reticulated or immature platelets for risk stratification in acute coronary syndromes and for monitoring the effect of treatment with antiplatelet drugs in patients with coronary artery diseases. The aim of this paper is to present the present technology available for measuring reticulated platelets as well as an overview of the current status of clinical application. This overview also indicates that more research is needed before reticulated or immature platelet assays can be applied in other clinical conditions than thrombocytopenia and after transplantation.