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SERPINE1 and MTHFR genetic variants in patients with embolic stroke of undetermined source: links with fibrin clot properties

Adrianna Klajmon12, Michał Ząbczyk12, Anetta Undas12, Joanna Natorska12


Introduction. The SERPINE1 c.-820G (4_5), MTHFR gene variants, and unfavourably altered fibrin clot features, have been suspected to be associated with embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS). We investigated the SERPINE1 c.-820G (4_5) gene variants alone and coexisting with MTHFR c.665C > T and c.1286A > C gene variants in relation to thrombophilic factors and plasma fibrin clot properties in Polish patients with ESUS.

Patients and methods.
Unrelated consecutive patients with ESUS (n = 206) were genotyped by TaqMan assay. Thrombophilia screening was performed four weeks or more after a thrombotic event while off oral anticoagulation. Factor VIII (FVIII) activity was determined by a coagulometric assay, while lipoprotein(a) was determined using immunoturbidimetry. We determined fibrin clot permeability (Ks) and clot lysis time (CLT). Apparently healthy individuals without a family history of stroke or venous thromboembolism (n = 30), and patients with a history of atrial fibrillation (n = 25) or carotid artery disease-related stroke (n = 21), served as controls.

Results. Among ESUS patients, the SERPINE1 c.-820G (4_5) minor allele frequency was 0.57. There were no differences in common factors associated with thrombophilia among ESUS patients regarding SERPINE1 variants. The overall prevalence of FVIII > 150IU/dL was 26% (n = 53) and elevated FVIII predominated in SERPINE1 variants carriers (n = 45; 84.9%), including 36 (68%) carriers of MTHFR variant. Moreover, 4.3-fold higher Lp(a) levels along with 50% reduced Ks and 46% prolonged CLT were found in patients with mutant SERPINE1 combined with mutant homozygotes in the MTHFR c.665C > T variant compared to the wild type SERPINE1 combined with mutant homozygotes in the MTHFR c.665C >T (P < 0.001).

The SERPINE1 c.-820G (4_5) variants carriers have increased FVIII levels, while the SERPINE1 c.-820G (4_5) mutant homozygotes coexisting with MTHFR c.665C > T have more prothrombotic fibrin clot features and elevated Lp(a). Our study underlines the cumulative effect of genetic risk factors in patients with ESUS that might require specific antithrombotic therapy.

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