Isolation and Characterization of an Antifactor v Antibody Causing Activated Protein C Resistance From a Patient With Severe Thrombotic Manifestations

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A 44-year-old woman with a history of severe thrombotic manifestations presented with a markedly reduced activated protein C-sensitivity ratio (APC-SR). DNA sequencing of and around the regions encoding the APC cleavage sites in the factor Va molecule excluded the presence of the factor VLeiden mutation and of other known genetic mutations. No antiphospholipid antibodies were present in the patient's plasma and both prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time were normal. The total immunoglobulin fraction was isolated from the patient's plasma and found to induce severe APC resistance when added to normal plasma and to factor V-deficient plasma supplemented with increasing concentrations of factor V. Immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation experiments with the total immunoglobulin fraction purified from the patient's plasma demonstrated that the antibody recognizes factor V, is polyclonal, and has conformational epitopes on the entire factor V molecule (heavy and light chains, and B region). Thus, the immunoglobulin fraction interferes with the anticoagulant pathway involving factor V. The inhibitor was isolated by sequential affinity chromatography on protein G-Sepharose and factor V-Sepharose. The isolated immunoglobulin fraction inhibited factor Va inactivation by APC because of impaired cleavage at Arg306 and Arg506 of the heavy chain of the cofactor. The isolated immunoglobulin fraction was also found to inhibit the cofactor effect of factor V for the inactivation of factor VIII by the APC/protein S complex. Our data provide for the first time the demonstration of an antifactor V antibody not related to the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies, which is responsible for thrombotic rather than hemorrhagic symptoms.