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Waldenström's macroglobulinemia with an IgM paraprotein that is both a cold agglutinin and a cryoglobulin and has a suppressive effect on progenitor cell growth.

Transfusion 1994 October
BACKGROUND: A patient with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia was admitted to the hospital with fever, leg pain, and dyspnea. The patient had gas gangrene of the left leg that required above-the-knee amputation. Plasmapheresis was instituted to treat hyperviscosity.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The patient's serum contained an IgM-kappa paraprotein, a cryoglobulin, and a cold agglutinin. The serum was studied.

RESULTS: The patient's red cells typed as A1, Rh-positive. The direct antiglobulin test was negative. The serum contained a cold agglutinin with anti-Pr cold agglutinin specificity (titer 4096). Maximal thermal range was 30 degrees C. Following dithiothreitol treatment, the cold agglutinin activity disappeared. The serum IgM concentration in the tested sample was 62.3 g per L. The cold agglutinin titer in the supernatant after removal of the cryoglobulin was 256, and the IgM level was 0.31 g per L. Redissolving the cryoglobulin in a equivalent volume of saline resulted in a cold agglutinin titer of 4096 and an IgM level of 68.4 g per L. These results indicate that the cryoglobulin and the cold agglutinin are the same paraprotein. Serum protein electrophoresis using agarose gel and immunofixation of the serum revealed an IgM-kappa monoclonal band. Progenitor cell assays were performed by adding the patient's serum at final concentrations of 0, 1, 5 and 10 percent (vol/vol) to patient's and normal donor's peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Inhibition of burst-forming units-erythroid and colony-forming units-granulocyte/macrophage by the patient's serum was demonstrated. Appropriate controls and the use of the serum of another patient with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia did not suppress progenitor cell growth. The patient's serum inhibited colony formation in a dose-response fashion.

CONCLUSION: Reports of cryoprecipitable cold agglutinins are rare. This case is unusual because the IgM-kappa paraprotein was also a cold agglutinin with anti-Pr specificity and erythroid and granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cell-suppressive properties.

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