Journal of Theoretical Medicine
Volume 2 (2000), Issue 2, Pages 81-91

Cyclical Thrombocytopenia: Characterization by Spectral Analysis and a Review

1Department of Physiology, Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics, McGill University, Canada
2Departments of Physiology, Physics, and Mathematics, Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics, McGill University, Canada

Received 1 October 1998; Accepted 12 March 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have analyzed published platelet time series in four normal individuals and 29 putative cyclical thrombocytopenia patients for evidence of significant (p ≤ 0.05) cyclicity. Three of the normal individuals (all males) showed significant cycling (periods T of 23, 30 and 31 days) as did 15 of the cyclical thrombocytopenia patients (T from 13 to 65 days). Cyclical thrombocytopenia seems to be approximately equally prevalent in women and men, though in cases where a definite etiology was suggested an autoimmune origin occurs more frequently in women. We also briefly review the current state of knowledge of the control of platelet production by thrombopoietin (c-Mpl ligand) and previous attempts that have been made to construct mathematical models for the platelet control system.