Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) is a life-threatening condition that affects some, but not all, recipients of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors given as part of chemotherapy. TMA is also a complication of preeclampsia, a disease characterized by excess production of the VEGF-scavenging soluble VEGF receptor 1 (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1; sFlt-1). Risk factors for VEGF inhibitor-related TMA remain unknown. We hypothesized that deficiency of the VWF-cleaving ADAMTS13 endopeptidase contributes to the development of VEGF inhibitor-related TMA. ADAMTS13(-/-) mice overexpressing sFlt-1 presented all hallmarks of TMA, including thrombocytopenia, schistocytosis, anemia, and VWF-positive microthrombi in multiple organs. Similar to VEGF inhibitor-related TMA in humans, these mice exhibited severely impaired kidney function and hypertension. In contrast, wild-type mice overexpressing sFlt-1 developed modest hypertension but no other features of TMA. Recombinant ADAMTS13 therapy ameliorated all symptoms of TMA in ADAMTS13(-/-) mice overexpressing sFlt-1 and normalized BP in wild-type mice. ADAMTS13 activity may thus be a critical determinant for the development of TMA secondary to VEGF inhibition. Administration of recombinant ADAMTS13 may serve as a therapeutic approach to treat or prevent thrombotic complications of VEGF inhibition.
Keywords: VEGF; thrombosis; von Willebrand Factor.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Society of Nephrology.