Background: Platelets are large when young and immature and shrink as they age. The mean platelet volume (MPV) and platelet distribution width (PDW) reflect the volume and distribution of platelets, respectively. We compared the MPVs and PDWs of patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) or essential thrombocythemia (ET) to those of healthy individuals to test whether these values can reflect the pathomechanisms of these diseases.
Methods: Platelet counts, MPVs, and PDWs were measured in 153 healthy individuals and in 20 and 34 patients with ITP and ET, respectively, using an XN-3000 instrument.
Results: The MPVs and PDWs were significantly higher in ITP patients than in healthy individuals or ET patients. The MPVs were significantly lower in ET patients than in both ITP patients and healthy individuals; however, the PDWs in ET patients were similar to those in healthy individuals. The MPVs and PDWs did not correlate with platelet count in ITP or ET patients.
Conclusions: Our data suggested an increased production of young, large platelets and nondiscriminatory destruction of circulating platelets irrespective of their ages in ITP. Decreased MPVs and unelevated PDWs in ET suggest that clonal process-produced platelets remain small throughout their lifespans.