Animal models for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura



Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a puzzling disorder in many ways. The disease is difficult to diagnose as analogous symptoms are also found in other microangiopathic disorders. Although ADAMTS13 deficiency is generally required to develop TTP, only some patients with severe ADAMTS13 deficiency do spontaneously develop this disease. It is therefore assumed that environmental and/or genetic factors are needed to cause acute TTP. Nevertheless, acute TTP-like symptoms have also been observed in patients with moderate or normal levels of ADAMTS13. The development of animal models for TTP has allowed a closer look at the specific need for ADAMTS13 deficiency and the necessity for additional triggers in the pathophysiology of TTP. Mouse models for congenital TTP and a baboon model for acquired TTP have been generated. These animal models have also proven to be extremely valuable in developing new treatment strategies for TTP. In the current review, we discuss current animal models for TTP, what we have learned from them and how they were used to test new treatment strategies.