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Semin Hematol. 2004 Jan;41(1 Suppl 1):82-8.

Environmental and genetic factors influencing inhibitor development.

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Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immune Haematology of the DRK Blood Donor Service, Baden-Wuerttemberg-Hessen, Frankfurt, Germany.


Inhibitor formation occurs at a frequency of 20% to 30% in severe hemophilia A, and 3% in hemophilia B. Today, it represents the major complication in patient care and renders classical substitution therapy ineffective. Genetic factors, such as factor VIII (FVIII) gene mutations and immune response genes, particularly the major histocompatibility complex, have been shown to constitute decisive risk factors for the development of inhibitors. In severe hemophilia A and B, those mutations that result in the absence or severe truncation of the FVIII/factor IX (FIX) proteins are associated with the highest risk for inhibitor formation, indicating that a major driving force in inhibitor development is the presentation of a novel antigen to the patient's immune system. An alternative pathomechanism may underlie inhibitor development in patients with mild hemophilia A. Missense mutations, especially those in the C1/C2 domains, may alter the immunogenicity of the FVIII protein, eliciting an inhibitor response against the mutated epitope. In some patients with hemophilia B, especially those with large deletions to the FIX gene, a severe allergic reaction occurs simultaneously with inhibitor onset. Despite the obviously strong genetic predisposition, discordant inhibitor status in monozygotic hemophilia A twins demonstrates that environmental factors also play a role in the development of inhibitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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