- Last Update On : 2012-11-26
In the evaluation of thrombocytopenia, quantification of immature platelets may be used as an index of bone marrow thrombopoietic activity, analogous to the red cell reticulocyte count in the evaluation of anemia. Newly released platelets contain residual RNA and were originally termed reticulated platelets. Measurement of reticulated platelets is useful in differentiating whether thrombocytopenia is secondary to decreased production or peripheral destruction of platelets.
Hematology analyzers use flow cytometry and a fluorescent RNA binding dye to quantitate immature platelets. Today, they are called immature platelet fraction (IPF) instead of reticulated platelets. The IPF value is reported together with the other results of the routine complete blood count.
This automated IPF assay has been shown to be useful in differentiating aplastic from peripheral consumptive causes of thrombocytopenia. In one study (Br J Haematol. 2004;126:93-99) patients with immune thromb