Thrombosis and haemostasis vol:95 issue:2 pages:236-42
Elevated plasma prothrombin levels, due to the prothrombin 20210 G/A mutation or to acquired causes, are a risk factor for venous thrombosis, partly because of prothrombin-mediated inhibition of the protein C anticoagulant pathway and consequent activated protein C (APC) resistance. We determined the effect of plasma prothrombin concentration on the APC resistance phenotype and evaluated the role of protein S levels as a modulating variable. The effect of prothrombin and protein S levels on APC resistance was investigated in reconstituted plasma systems and in a population of healthy individuals using both the aPTT-based and the thrombin generation-based APC resistance tests. In reconstituted plasma, APC resistance increased at increasing prothrombin concentration in both assays. Enhanced APC resistance was caused by the effect of prothrombin on the clotting time in the absence of APC in the aPTT-based test, and on thrombin formation in the presence of APC in the thrombin generation-based test. In plasma from healthy individuals prothrombin levels were highly correlated to protein S levels. Since prothrombin and protein S had opposite effects on the APC resistance phenotype, the prothrombin/protein S ratio was a better predictor of APC resistance than the levels of either protein alone. Prothrombin titrations in plasmas containing different amounts of protein S confirmed that protein S levels modulate the ability of prothrombin to induce APC resistance. These findings suggest that carriers of the prothrombin 20210 G/A mutation, who have a high prothrombin/protein S ratio, may experience a higher thrombosis risk than non-carriers with comparable prothrombin levels.