Introduction: The development of neutralizing antibodies (inhibitors) against coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) is currently the most serious complication for patients with haemophilia A undergoing FVIII replacement therapy. Several genetic factors have been acknowledged as risk factors for inhibitor development.
Aim: To analyze the influence of genetic factors on the nature of the humoral immune response to FVIII in eight brother pairs with inhibitors.
Methods: The domain specificity of FVIII-specific IgG was analysed by antibody binding to FVIII fragments and homologue-scanning mutagenesis (HSM). The FVIII-specific IgG subclasses were measured by direct ELISA.
Results: Of the 16 patient analysed with both methods, 12 had A2- and 13 had C2-specific IgG. The presence of A1-, A3- or C1-specific IgG was identified in nine of 14 patients analysed by HSM. IgG1, IgG2 and IgG4 subclasses contributed to the anti-FVIII IgG response, and the amount of FVIII-specific IgG1 (r = 0.66) and IgG4 (r = 0.69) correlated significantly with inhibitor titres. Patients with high concentrations of total anti-FVIII IgG (r = 0.69) or high inhibitor titres (r = 0.52) had a high proportion of FVIII-specific IgG4. Statistical analysis revealed trends/evidence that the subclass distribution (P = 0.0847) and domain specificity to HC/LC (P = 0.0883) and A2/C2 (P = 0.0011) of anti-FVIII IgG were more similar in brothers compared to unrelated subjects.
Conclusion: Overall, our data provide a first hint that anti-FVIII IgG characteristics are comparable among haemophilic brothers with inhibitors. Whether genetic factors also influence the nature of patients' antibodies needs to be confirmed in a larger study population.
Keywords: IgG subclasses; anti-factor VIII antibodies; epitope mapping; factor VIII inhibitors; haemophilia A.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.