Blood advances 2(7) 754-761 doi 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017013672
Thrombocytopenia is a significant complication of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Platelet factor 4 (PF4; CXCL4) is a negative paracrine of megakaryopoiesis. We have shown that PF4 levels are inversely related to steady-state platelet counts, and to the duration and severity of chemotherapy- and radiation-induced thrombocytopenia (CIT and RIT, respectively). Murine studies suggest that blocking the effect of PF4 improves megakaryopoiesis, raising nadir platelet counts and shortening the time to platelet count recovery. We examined the ability of 2-O, 3-O desulfated heparin (ODSH), a heparin variant with little anticoagulant effects, to neutralize PF4’s effects on megakaryopoiesis. Using megakaryocyte colony assays and liquid cultures, we show that ODSH restored megakaryocyte proliferation in PF4-treated murine and human CD34-derived megakaryocyte cultures (17.4% megakaryocyte colonies, < .01 compared with PF4). In murine CIT and RIT models, ODSH, started 24 hours after injury, was examined for the effect on hematopoietic recovery demonstrating higher platelet count nadirs (9% ± 5% treated vs 4% ± 4% control) and significantly improved survival in treated animals (73% treated vs 36% control survival). Treatment with ODSH was able to reduce intramedullary free PF4 concentrations by immunohistochemical analysis. In summary, ODSH mitigated CIT and RIT in mice by neutralizing the intramedullary negative paracrine PF4. ODSH, already in clinical trials in humans as an adjuvant to chemotherapy, may be an important, clinically relevant therapeutic for CIT and RIT.