Thrombotic microangiopathic hemolytic anemia with reduction of ADAMTS13 activity: initial manifestation of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus

Am J Clin Pathol. 2011 Mar;135(3):406-16. doi: 10.1309/AJCP5BVL4FCLCGLU.


Severe manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) are characterized by multiorgan thrombotic microangiopathy. We describe reduction of ADAMTS13 activity and the development of systemic autoimmunity in all 8 children initially diagnosed with acquired noncongenital TTP during an 8.5-year period. Median age at diagnosis was 12.0 years (range, 2.6-17.3 years). ADAMTS13 activity was absent (<5%) in 6 patients; 3 patients had a detected inhibitor. SLE was diagnosed concurrently in 3 patients, and 4 patients were diagnosed within 5 years. Six of the children diagnosed with SLE had absent ADAMTS13 activity at diagnosis. In 6 patients with SLE, immune-mediated nephritis developed by 46 months. All surviving patients with SLE developed antiphospholipid antibodies, including some with a lupus anticoagulant. Patients with SLE did not have TTP recurrences once daily immunosuppressive regimens were started. An evaluation for SLE/APS is warranted in children and adolescents with reduced ADAMTS13 activity and thrombotic microangiopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADAM Proteins / metabolism*
  • ADAMTS13 Protein
  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / immunology
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glomerular Basement Membrane / immunology
  • Glomerular Basement Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Glomerulonephritis / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology
  • Glomerulonephritis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / metabolism
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology*
  • Male
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / complications
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / metabolism
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / pathology*


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • ADAM Proteins
  • ADAMTS13 Protein
  • ADAMTS13 protein, human