International Journal of Hematology

, Volume 107, Issue 4, pp 442–450 | Cite as

Circulating level of Th17 cells is associated with sensitivity to glucocorticoids in patients with immune thrombocytopenia

  • YiChan Zhang
  • TingTing Ma
  • Xuan Zhou
  • JunHao Chen
  • Juan Li
Original Article


Glucocorticoids are a widely recognized first-line therapy for immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). However, some patients are unresponsive to glucocorticoid therapy for reasons that remain unclear. Accumulating evidence suggests that CD4+ T-cell abnormalities play a crucial role in the development of ITP. In the present study, we investigated peripheral blood CD4+ T cells, Th17-associated cytokines, and the mRNA expression level of Th17 transcription factor—RORγt—in patients with newly-diagnosed ITP before glucocorticoid therapy. The study involved 27 newly-diagnosed patients. Th17-cell levels in the peripheral blood of newly-diagnosed ITP patients were associated with responsiveness to glucocorticoid therapy. Newly-diagnosed ITP patients who were not sensitive to glucocorticoid treatment were found to have lower levels of Th17 cells. Quantifying Th17 cells may allow physicians to predict prognosis of glucocorticoid treatment and stratify therapy for those with ITP. This strategy may provide a new approach to the treatment of glucocorticoid-insensitive patients.


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) Glucocorticoid sensitivity Th17 cells 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (311371399).

Author contributions

LJ, CJH, MTT, and ZYC conceived and designed the study. MTT, ZYC, and ZX performed the experiments. ZYC and MTT wrote the paper. LJ reviewed and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Hematology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Phase I Clinical Trials UnitNanjing Drum Tower Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical SchoolNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of LaboratoryNanjing Drum Tower Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical SchoolNanjingChina

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