The expression levels of 2 plasma-long non-coding RNAs, THRIL and lncDC, are different in people with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), according to a new study published in the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology. These long noncoding RNAs could potentially be used as diagnostic biomarkers for the disease.

There is currently no gold standard for the diagnosis of ITP. Previous research has shown that long noncoding RNAs may be involved in immune intolerance in ITP, the researchers noted. On the other hand, the long noncoding RNAs, THRIL and lncDC, are known to play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases, they added.

Read more about the diagnosis of ITP

In the present study, a team of researchers from China investigated the possible link between the expression levels of lncDC and THRIL and the clinical features of adult patients with primary ITP to investigate whether they can be used as diagnostic markers for the disease.

The researchers analyzed 102 people, 61 with ITP and 41 healthy volunteers. Of these 61 patients, 20 were under myelosuppression phase after chemotherapy.

They found that the expression level of lncDC was lower in patients with ITP compared to healthy people and patients under myelosuppression. On the contrary, the expression level of THRIL was significantly higher. 

Using receiver operating characteristic curves, the researchers found that lncDC has a high sensitivity and THRIL has a high specificity. When the 2 markers were used in combination, their diagnostic efficacy significantly increased.

“. . . lncDC and THRIL can serve as potential diagnostic markers for adult primary ITP,” the researchers concluded. “However, further studies are needed to confirm this.”

ITP is an autoimmune disease characterized by a very low number of platelets. Most adults with ITP have primary disease, which is acquired and idiopathic. There is also another type of ITP called secondary ITP, which is usually associated with another autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.


Jiang N, Wang Y, Feng Q, et al. Plasma long noncoding RNAs lncDC and THRIL as potential diagnostic markers of adult primary immune thrombocytopenia. Int J Lab Hematol. Published online February 27, 2023. doi:10.1111/ijlh.14041