In autoimmune disease, Fc receptors (FcRs) form the interface between immune effector cells and their antibody-coated targets, and as such are attractive targets for immunomodulatory therapy. In this issue of the JCI, two highly novel studies of Fc–FcR interactions provide new insights into the role of FcRs in immune thrombocytopenia. Asahi et al. utilized a comprehensive platform of immunological assays to examine the mechanism underlying Helicobacter pylori–associated immune thrombocytopenic purpura, and Ghevaert et al. describe a specially designed antibody that saturates binding sites on fetal platelets without initiating FcγR-mediated platelet phagocytosis, preventing the binding of pathological maternal anti-HLA antibodies that cause fetomaternal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (see the related articles beginning on pages 2939 and 2929, respectively). These reports illustrate how a remarkably detailed molecular understanding of the FcR network may translate into new therapeutic strategies with high clinical impact.
Bethan Psaila, James B. Bussel