Protein C deficiency as the major cause of thrombophilias in childhood


Correspondence: Shouichi Ohga, MD PhD, Department of Perinatal and Pediatric Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan. Email:


Genetic predisposition of thromboembolism depends on the racial background. Factor V Leiden (G1691A) and factor II mutation (G20210A) are the leading causes of inherited thrombophilias in Caucasians, but are not found in Asian ancestries. Protein S (PS), protein C (PC) and antithrombin (AT) activity are reportedly low in 65% of adult Japanese patients with deep vein thrombosis. Approximately half of the patients with each deficiency carry the heterozygous mutation of PS (PROS1; 20%), PC (PROC; 10%), and AT genes (SERPINC1: 5%). Recently, several studies have revealed an outline of inherited thrombophilias in Japanese children. Congenital thrombophilias in 48 patients less than age 20 years consisted of 45% PC deficiency, 15% PS deficiency and 10% AT deficiency, along with other causes. All PS- and AT-deficient patients had a heterozygous mutation of the respective gene. On the other hand, PC-deficient patients were considered to carry the homozygous or compound heterozygous mutation in 50%, the heterozygous mutation in 25%, and unknown causes in the remaining 25% of patients. Half of unrelated patients with homozygous or compound heterozygous PROC mutations carried PC-nagoya (1362delG), while their parents with its heterozygous mutation were asymptomatic. Most of the PC-deficient patients developed intracranial lesion and/or purpura fulminans within 2 weeks after birth. Non-inherited PC deficiency also conveyed thromboembolic events in early infancy. The molecular epidemiology of thrombosis in Asian children would provide a clue to establish the early intervention and optimal anticoagulant therapy in pediatric PC deficiency.