Report from the European Society of Platelet and Granulocyte Immunobiology (ESPGI) 2016 Meeting Stockholm

Obviously I was excited about ESPGI 2016, both because my former supervisor Agneta Wikman organised the meeting and because I got to meet my upcoming colleagues from Sanquin Amsterdam. It was a small congress and very special to be part of such an intimate community.

The first day of the meeting offered a range of topics around platelets & inflammation, FNAIT, and neutropenia/agranulocytosis. My personal highlights were:

  • As evidence suggests that there is regulating crosstalk between platelets and T-cells, it was offered that in ITP, T-cells dysregulation into a T-reg deficient / Th1 promoting phenotype might be due to direct absence of immunomodulation by platelets.
  • Co-incubation of NK-cells with human platelets in the presence of HPA-1a antibodies seemed to induce NK-cell-platelet complexes, whereas this was not observed in absence of the antibodies. Further research will need to show platelet activation/clearance and NK-cell cytokine profiles.
  • Ulrich Sachs presented exciting data that offered that anti-HPA-1a antibodies in FNAIT specific for alpha-v beta-3 antibodies induced endothelial permeability and disruption. Quantification of specific alpha-v beta-3 Ab offered a high ROC-AUC to identify patients that experienced intracranial hemorrhage (n=17/18 vs n=18 ctrl). Further research will need to show if such classification can be achieved in screened samples, because predictive values and ROC are likely to be overestimated here due to the employed case-control design. The role of thrombocytopenia in driving ICH might be related to a loss of hemostatic functions or competition for antibody-body binding with endothelial cells, and should be further studied.
  • An exciting FACS technique was used to study DC in mice for cross-presentation (XCR1+) and non-presenting, tolerizing phenotype (SIRP alpha+), indicating that in a murine ITP model the subset of thymic tolerizing DCs is modulated by both IVIG and splenectomy.

The second day continued with advances on HLA immunology, ITP and TRALI. Major findings were driven by Canada:

  • Anne Zufferey showed beautiful data on the endocytosis of exogenous antigen and cross-presentation of these antigens by murine megakaryocytes to CD8+ T-cells.
  • Alan Lazarus presented his data on the manipulation of FcyR by an engineered antibody fragment and its potential role in treating ITP
  • The mouse-model work of Rick Kapur unravelled IL-10 production from Treg and DC as the key protective factor against TRALI, evoking briefly that IL-10 therapy might rescue early detected TRALI from progression.

It was finally announced that the next ESPGI meeting will be in Amsterdam 2018.