Preliminary evaluation of a flow cytometric assay with microsphere controls for the detection of platelet-bound antibodies in canine immune thrombocytopenia

Marjory B. Brooks, Haruhiko Maruyama, Signe E. Cremer, Robert Goggs, Marnin A. Forman, Michael Koch, Julia Merriam, Kelly Makielski, Austin Viall, Dana N. LeVine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Canine immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) ranges from a mild to severe bleeding disorder, and platelet counts do not reliably predict clinical disease course. The detection of platelet autoantibodies may further define the disease phenotype, but variability in assay configurations and a lack of well-characterized controls limit the diagnostic utility of anti-platelet antibody assays.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to develop control reagents to facilitate the characterization of canine platelet surface-associated immunoglobulin (PSAIg) in flow cytometric assays.

METHODS: Silica microspheres were coated with canine IgG and IgM to assess the reactivity of goat and rabbit origin anti-canine immunoglobulin reagents. They were also used as positive controls in the PSAIg assay. Preliminary assay evaluation and determination of sample stability used PRP isolated from seven healthy dogs and 26 dogs newly diagnosed with thrombocytopenia.

RESULTS: Blood sample stability was established for up to a 48-hour storage time. The conjugated positive control microspheres demonstrated stable fluorescent labeling over a 2-year observation period. Rabbit and goat origin anti-dog IgM fluorescent antibody labels reacted nonspecifically with canine IgG. Rabbit origin anti-dog IgG antibody demonstrated greater class specificity for canine IgG than a goat origin antibody. Thrombocytopenic dogs had a broad range of membrane-bound immunoglobulin. Median PSAIgG for dogs with primary or secondary ITP (18.4%, 34.1%, respectively) were significantly higher than controls (3.8%, P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: The described assay reagents and procedures provide positive controls and allow consistent thresholding to define a positive test result, suitable for any flow cytometer. A rabbit anti-dog IgG fluorescent label demonstrated specificity for canine IgG and was useful for the detection of PSAIgG in thrombocytopenic dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-338
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the clinicians at all of the collaborating veterinary hospitals for enrolling dogs with ITP. The authors acknowledge Amelia Frye and Alyssa Stablein for technical assistance, Drs. Unity Jeffery, Laura Van Vertloo, and Jess Armato for case management and record review. This study was supported by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (CHF 2052 and 02536‐MOU).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology.


  • autoimmune diseases
  • blood platelets
  • hematologic diseases

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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