Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA)



The production of red blood cells declines due to bone marrow damage, which leads to anemia. This bone marrow disease can be acquired or inherited (present at birth). The two acquired forms are known as primary and secondary.  The primary form involves autoantibodies and other autoimmunity processes, whereas the secondary form arises with coexisting autoimmune disease and is not always antibody-mediated.

Common Symptoms

Dizziness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, myasthenia gravis, SLE, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, acquired hypogammaglobulinemia, autoimmune polyglandular syndrome, and thymoma.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

Pre-existing autoimmune diseases, tumors in the thymus, and viral infections (including parvovirus B19).


  1. Article Sources
    1. Acquired pure red cell aplasia | Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) – an NCATS Program. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2021, from https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/10898/acquired-pure-red-cell-aplasia

    2. Frickhofen, N., Chen, Z. J., Young, N. S., Cohen, B. J., Heimpel, H., & Abkowitz, J. L. (1994). Parvovirus B19 as a cause of acquired chronic pure red cell aplasia. British Journal of Haematology, 87(4), 818–824. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2141.1994.tb06743.x

    3. Means, R. T. (2016). Pure red cell aplasia. Hematology: The American Society of Hematology Education Program, 2016(1), 51–56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142432/

    4. Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA). (n.d.-a). Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Retrieved June 9, 2021, from https://www.aamds.org/diseases/related/pure-red-cell-aplasia-prca

    5. Thompson, D. F., & Gales, M. A. (1996). Drug-induced pure red cell aplasia. Pharmacotherapy, 16(6), 1002–1008.

    6. Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA). (n.d.-b). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved June 9, 2021, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14475-pure-red-cell-aplasia-prca