Dissociation between the level of von Willebrand factor-cleaving protease activity and disease in a patient with congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
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Decreased von Willebrand factor (VWF)-cleaving protease activity (<5%) has been implicated in patients with congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura-hemolytic uremic syndrome (Upshaw-Schulman syndrome) and associated with mutations within the ADAMTS13 gene. In this report, we describe longitudinal studies in a patient with congenital TTP who ultimately developed end-stage renal failure and required plasma therapy from infancy. The patient was deficient in plasma high molecular weight (HMW)-VWF multimers during acute disease but had increased amounts of the HMW-VWF multimers during periods of remission. DNA analysis of this patient detected homozygosity for the R692C mutation on exon 17 of the ADAMTS13 gene, previously linked to congenital TTP. The level of VWF-cleaving protease activity in the patient was remarkably low (<5%) throughout her disease, even after she entered complete remission. However, despite no improvement in the level of VWF-cleaving protease activity, this patient had complete resolution of disease following splenectomy and commencing hemodialysis, without need for ongoing plasma therapy. The patient has remained in remission for over 4 years. These observations suggest that there are other factors in conjunction with severe deficiency of VWF protease activity that participate in the platelet-mediated thrombotic complications and other disease manifestations of congenital TTP. In addition, it is possible that splenectomy could be an effective treatment option for some patients with severe, congenital TTP.
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