Variation in factor VIII inhibitor reactivity with different commercial factor VIII preparations


Erik Berntorp, MD, PhD, Department for Coagulation Disorders, University Hospital, Malmö, S-205 02 Malmö, Sweden.


Summary. During treatment of a haemophilia A patient with a high-responding inhibitor against factor VIII coagulant activity (VIII:C), we observed a difference in recovery of VIII:C depending upon which factor concentrate was infused. Inhibitor plasma samples or IgG fraction from seven patients were tested against a panel of seven different commercially available factor VIII concentrates of which five were plasma-derived and two recombinant. In two of the plasma samples, inhibitor titres manifested a wide range of values depending upon which concentrate was used in the test system. Thus, inhibitor neutralization was less and VIII:C recovery greater when factor VIII concentrates containing large amounts of von Willebrand factor were used than when highly purified concentrates containing no von Willebrand factor or only trace amounts were used. In both of these two patients the inhibitor was directed against the light chain of factor VIII, and it is possible that the epitope of the light chain with which the inhibitor reacts is partly blocked by the von Willebrand factor.

We conclude that inhibitors may differ in their reactivity with factor VIII molecules contained in clotting factor concentrates, and that there is factor VIII epitope variation between different concentrates. These findings have implications for the selection of concentrates for the treatment of inhibitor patients and the haemostatic effect may be improved if a concentrate giving the lowest inhibitor titre is chosen. Thus, in vitro testing of inhibitor reactivity with a panel of concentrates is recommended when treatment of inhibitor patients with factor VIII concentrates is considered.