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Keywords:

  • mutation;
  • thrombomodulin gene;
  • venous thromboembolism

Summary.  Dysfunction of the protein C anticoagulant system is associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE) and thrombomodulin (TM) is a critical cofactor within the protein C system. The aim of this study was to test the hypotheses that polymorphisms or haplotypes within the TM gene are common risk factors for VTE. We screened the TM putative promoter, exon and 3′-untranslated region for sequence variations in a random sample (n = 266) of consecutive idiopathic, objectively confirmed non-Olmsted County VTE patients referred to the Mayo Clinic. We then genotyped a sample of Olmsted County, MN residents with a first lifetime, objectively confirmed VTE in the 25-year period, 1966–90 (n = 223), and a sample of Olmsted County residents without VTE (n = 237) for polymorphisms either discovered in the screening population or previously published, and tested for an association of VTE with TM genotype or haplotypes using unconditional logistic regression and generalized linear models, respectively. We also genotyped these Olmsted County cases and controls at 20 ‘null’ genetic maker loci and tested for population admixture. Nine novel and three previously described mutations were identified in the screening population. Mutations within the TM promoter, EGF1-5, serine/threonine-rich, transmembrane, and cytoplasm regions were absent or uncommon. TM845G[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]A (Ala25Thr; lectin region), TM2136T[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]C (Ala455Val; EGF6 region), TM2470C deletion (3′-untranslated region), and 4363A[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]G (3′-flanking region) were more common, but were not associated with VTE by genotype or haplotype. Null genetic marker allele frequencies did not differ significantly among cases and controls. We conclude that polymorphisms or haplotypes within the TM gene are not common risk factors for incident VTE.