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Blood. 2005 Jan 15;105(2):542-4. Epub 2004 Sep 14.

Fatal congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura with apparent ADAMTS13 inhibitor: in vitro inhibition of ADAMTS13 activity by hemoglobin.

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Department of Hematology and Central Hematology Laboratory, Inselspital, University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.


Severe ADAMTS13 deficiency in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is either constitutional and caused by ADAMTS13 mutations, or acquired and most often due to ADAMTS13 inhibitory autoantibodies. In strongly hemolytic serum of a pediatric patient, diagnosed with TTP postmortem, ADAMTS13 activity was less than 3%. Both parents had an ADAMTS13 activity of approximately 50%. Sequencing of the ADAMTS13 gene revealed an intronic 687-2A>G substitution affecting exon 7, homozygous in the propositus and heterozygous in both parents, confirming constitutional ADAMTS13 deficiency. ADAMTS13 activity of normal plasma was inhibited by incubation with the propositus' serum, suggesting alloantibody formation to ADAMTS13. However, immunoglobulin purified from serum had no ADAMTS13 inhibitory effect, whereas the immunoglobulin-depleted hemolytic serum inhibited ADAMTS13 activity of normal plasma, suggesting an inhibitory effect of hemolysis products. Incubation of hemoglobin, recombinant and from lysed erythrocytes, with normal plasma revealed an ADAMTS13 inhibitory effect at hemoglobin concentrations of 2 g/L or higher.

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