A 12-year-old boy was hospitalized for hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, acute kidney injury, and generalized seizures. The childhood onset, severely decreased kidney function, absence of prodromal diarrhea, negative test results for Shiga-like toxin-producing Escherichia coli, elevated plasma levels of the terminal complement complex sC5b-9, and ex vivo testing in endothelial cells showing serum-induced complement activation were all consistent with a diagnosis of complement-mediated atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. Before plasma ADAMTS13 (von Willebrand factor protease) activity results were available, the patient was treated with the anti-C5 monoclonal antibody eculizumab, and treatment was followed by prompt disease remission. However, results of ADAMT13 activity level tests and gene screening revealed a severe deficiency associated with 2 heterozygous mutations in the ADAMTS13 gene, fully consistent with a diagnosis of congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Screening for atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome-associated genes failed to show a mutation and an assay for plasma anti-factor H antibodies gave negative results both before and after eculizumab treatment initiation. The patient's clinical evolution suggests that complement activation plays a role in the pathogenesis of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and provides unexpected new insights into the treatment of this life-threatening disease.
Keywords: ADAMTS13; Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP); atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS); complement; congenital TTP; eculizumab; terminal complement pathway; thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA); ultralarge vWF (ULvWF); von Willebrand factor (vWF) protease.
Copyright © 2015 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.