Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Heparin cofactor activities in a family with hereditary antithrombin III deficiency: evidence for a second heparin cofactor in human plasma

  1. MJ Griffith,
  2. T Carraway,
  3. GC White, and
  4. FA Dombrose

Abstract

Plasma levels of antithrombin-heparin cofactor, determined by heparin- dependent antithrombin assay, and antithrombin III antigen were measured in 22 members of a large kindred predisposed to venous thrombosis. While 11 members had reduced plasma levels of both antithrombin-heparin cofactor and antithrombin III antigen, the levels of antithrombin-heparin cofactor were always greater than the levels of antithrombin III antigen: 66% (+/- 7%) and 49% (+/- 5%) of normal plasma, respectively. Pooled normal plasma and plasma from one of the affected family members (60% antithrombin-heparin cofactor and 47% antithrombin III antigen) were fractionated by heparin-agarose affinity chromatography. Antithrombin-heparin cofactor, which eluted from heparin-agarose with buffer containing 0.4 M NaCl and did not cross- react with antibody specific for antithrombin III and did not inhibit factor Xa at an appreciable rate in the presence of heparin, was designated heparin cofactor A. Antithrombin-heparin cofactor, which eluted from heparin-agarose with buffer containing 2.0 M NaCl, was functionally and antigenically identified as antithrombin III. The concentrations of heparin cofactor A in normal and patient plasma were similar (4.5 x 10(-7) M), while the concentration of antithrombin III in patient plasma (8.0 x 10(-7) M) was only 50% of normal (1.6 x 10(-6) M). The functional properties of both heparin cofactor A and antithrombin III obtained from patient plasma were normal. From the results of the present study it would appear that the antithrombin- heparin cofactor concentrating measured in patient plasma reflects the combined concentrations of heparin cofactor A and antithrombin III. Since heparin cofactor A does not cross-react with antibody to antithrombin III, the concentration of antithrombin III antigen in patient plasma is thus lower than the concentration of antithrombin- heparin cofactor.