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Determinants of factor VIII plasma levels in carriers of haemophilia A and in control women


Prof. Dr Ingrid Pabinger, Professor of Haemostaseology, Clinical Division of Haematology and Haemostaseology, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.
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Summary.  Factor VIII (FVIII) levels show a considerable variability in female carriers of haemophilia A. Presently, the reasons for this are poorly understood. The aim of the study was to elucidate the influence of genetic and non-genetic parameters on FVIII plasma levels in carriers (n = 42). Results were compared with age-matched healthy women without carriership of haemophilia A (n = 42). Each carrier was tested for the family-specific mutation, ABO blood group, FVIII level, von Willebrand factor (VWF) antigen and activity and C-reactive protein (CRP). FVIII levels were lower in carriers compared to non-carriers [74% (51–103) vs. 142% (109–169), P < 0.001]. No statistically significant differences were observed between the two groups with respect to VWF activity, prothrombin–time, hs-CRP, fibrinogen, body mass index (BMI), age and smoking status as well as the distribution of ABO blood groups. In non-carriers, FVIII was statistically significantly correlated with BMI, activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), VWF antigen, hs-CRP and fibrinogen. In carriers, significant correlations between FVIII and APTT, VWF antigen and activity were found, whereas BMI, hs-CRP or fibrinogen did not correlate with FVIII. In non-carriers, the association of FVIII with ABO blood groups was statistically significant (P = 0.006), but not in carriers of haemophilia A (P = 0.234). The type of FVIII gene mutation did not influence FVIII levels. Carrier status is the major determinant of a carrier`s FVIII plasma level. Factors known to influence FVIII levels in the general population do not significantly affect FVIII activity in carriers, neither does the type of mutation influence FVIII levels.

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