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The role of ADAMTS13 testing in the diagnosis and management of thrombotic microangiopathies and thrombosis

Camila Masias and Spero R. Cataland

Abstract

ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 13) is a metalloprotease responsible for cleavage of ultra-large von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers. Severely deficient activity of the protease can trigger an acute episode of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Our understanding of the pathophysiology of TTP has allowed us to grasp the important role of ADAMTS13 in other thrombotic microangiopathies (TMAs) and thrombotic disorders, such as ischemic stroke and coronary artery disease. Through its action on VWF, ADAMTS13 can have prothrombotic and proinflammatory properties, not only when its activity is severely deficient, but also when it is only moderately low. Here, we will discuss the biology of ADAMTS13 and the different assays developed to evaluate its function in the context of TTP, in the acute setting and during follow-up. We will also discuss the latest evidence regarding the role of ADAMTS13 in other TMAs, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. This information will be useful for clinicians not only when evaluating patients who present with microangiopathic hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia, but also when making clinical decisions regarding the follow-up of patients with TTP.

  • Submitted February 2, 2018.
  • Accepted July 3, 2018.
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