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Abstract

Antibodies that bind prothrombin without neutralizing its coagulant activity were demonstrated in the plasma of two patients with the acquired hypoprothrombinemia-lupus anticoagulant syndrome. The first patient's plasma contained less than 1% prothrombin activity and no detectable prothrombin antigen. The second patient's plasma contained about 6% of both prothrombin activity and antigen. Neither patient's plasma neutralized the prothrombin coagulant activity of normal plasma or of purified prothrombin added in vitro. Nevertheless, double immunodiffusion studies and binding experiments utilizing 125I- prothrombin demonstrated the presence of prothrombin antibodies in each patient's plasma. A Scatchard analysis of the binding data obtained with different concentrations of 125I-prothrombin and the first patient's plasma indicated the presence of a high affinity antibody, apparent Kd approximately 10(-10)M, and a lower affinity antibody, apparent Kd approximately 10(-9)M. Studies utilizing purified cleavage products of prothrombin suggested that the antibodies were directed against an epitope or epitopes located on the carboxyl-terminal, latent thrombin segment of the prothrombin molecule. We postulate that the acquired hypoprothrombinemia in these two patients and in other reported patients with the acquired hypoprothrombinemia-lupus anticoagulant syndrome stems from rapid clearance from the circulation of prothrombin antigen-antibody complexes.