Molecular biology of ADAMTS13 and diagnostic utility of ADAMTS13 proteolytic activity and inhibitor assays

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis (Impact Factor: 3.88). 01/2006; 31(6):659-72. DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-925472
Source: PubMed


ADAMTS13, a reprolysin-like metalloprotease, limits platelet-rich thrombus formation in the small arteries by cleaving von Willebrand factor (vWF) at the Tyr1605-Met1606 peptide bond. Deficiency of plasma ADAMTS13 activity, due to either an inherited or an acquired etiology, may lead to a potentially lethal syndrome, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Molecular cloning and characterization of the ADAMTS13 gene have provided further insight into the structure-function relationships, biosynthesis, and regulation of the ADAMTS13 protease, in addition to understanding the pathogenesis of TTP and perhaps other thrombotic disorders. ADAMTS13 consists of a short propeptide, a typical reprolysin-like metalloprotease domain, followed by a disintegrin-like domain, first thrombospondin type 1 (TSP1) repeat, Cys-rich domain, and spacer domain. The carboxyl terminus of ADAMTS13 has seven more TSP1 repeats and two CUB domains. ADAMTS13 is synthesized mainly in hepatic stellate cells, but also in vascular endothelial cells. Recognition and cleavage of vWF require the proximal carboxyl terminal domains, but not the middle and distal carboxyl terminal domains. Cleavage of vWF appears to be modulated by shear force, binding to platelet or platelet glycoprotein-1balpha, heparin, inflammatory cytokine (interleukin-6), and chloride ion. At the site of thrombus formation, the ADAMTS13 may be inactivated by thrombin, plasmin, and factor Xa. Having a sensitive and specific assay for ADAMTS13 activity is not only critical to understand the basic biology of ADAMTS13 protease, but also to facilitate a more timely and accurate clinical diagnosis of TTP, and to initiate potentially life-saving plasma exchange therapy. Although many assays have been developed and tested for clinical applications, the fluorescent resonance energy transfer-vWF73 assay appears to be the simplest and most promising assay to date.

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    ABSTRACT: Many patients with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) harbor autoantibodies that may bind and/or inhibit ADAMTS-13 proteolytic activity and accelerate its clearance in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we determined ADAMTS-13 activity and antigen levels in parallel plasma samples from patients clinically diagnosed with TTP. Collagen binding, GST-VWF73 and FRETS-VWF73 assays were used to determine ADAMTS-13 activity and to detect inhibitory autoantibodies. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoprecipitation plus Western blotting (IP/WB) were used to detect total anti-ADAMTS-13 IgG (inhibitory and non-inhibitory). Among 40 patients with TTP (21 idiopathic and 19 non-idiopathic), inhibitory autoantibodies were detected (by FRETS-VWF73) in 52% of idiopathic and 0% of non-idiopathic TTP patients. In contrast, non-inhibitory IgG autoantibodies were detected in 29% of idiopathic and 50% of non-idiopathic TTP patients. The concentration of inhibitory IgG autoantibody in idiopathic TTP patients was significantly higher than that of non-inhibitory IgG in either idiopathic or non-idiopathic TTP patients. Idiopathic TTP patients demonstrated significantly reduced ADAMTS-13 activity compared with non-idiopathic patients, but only slightly lower ADAMTS-13 antigen levels. Interestingly, patients with inhibitory autoantibodies exhibited significantly lower ADAMTS-13 antigen levels than those with only non-inhibitory IgG autoantibodies or no autoantibody. Serial plasma exchanges increased levels of ADAMTS-13 activity and antigen concurrently in patients with inhibitory autoantibodies. The identification of severe ADAMTS-13 deficiency and autoantibodies or inhibitors appears to be assay-dependent; the inhibitory IgG autoantibodies, in addition to binding and inhibiting ADAMTS-13 proteolytic activity, may accelerate ADAMTS-13 clearance in vivo.
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