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Thromb Haemost. 2004 Dec;92(6):1320-6.

von Willebrand factor-cleaving protease (ADAMTS13) activity in normal non-pregnant women, pregnant and post-delivery women.

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Departamento de Hemostasia y Trombosis, Instituto de Investigaciones Hematológicas, Academia Nacional de Medicina, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


ADAMTS13 dysfunction has been involved in the pathogenesis of Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. This disorder occurs more frequently in women and, in 13% of them, is associated with pregnancy. However, there is little information on the protease behaviour in normal pregnancy. We studied von Willebrand factor and ADAMTS13 activity changes in normal non-pregnant, pregnant and post-delivery women. Fifty-five non-pregnant women, normal blood bank donors, who were not taking contraceptive pills were included as controls. A prospective cross-sectional study of 270 normal pregnant and post-delivery women was carried out. ADAMTS13 activity decreased progressively as from the period of 12-16 weeks up to the end of early puerperium (mean 52%, range 22-89, p < 0.0001), to increase slightly thereafter. Nulliparous presented mildly lower levels of ADAMTS13 activity than parous women (65% vs. 83 %, p = 0.0003), and primigravidae than multigravidae between 6-11 weeks up to 17-23 weeks of pregnancy (69% vs. 80%, p = 0.005). Although in all women the protease levels were the same by blood groups, the O blood group non-pregnant women showed a higher mean of ADAMTS13 activity than those non-O (78% vs. 69%, p = 0.064). Our results suggest that the changing levels of protease activity during pregnancy and puerperium, induced by unidentified mechanisms, could render the peripartum time more vulnerable to developed thrombotic microangiopathies.

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