A role for thrombin in the initiation of the immune response to therapeutic factor VIII

Jonathan Skupsky, Ai Hong Zhang, Yan Su, David W. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Administration of human factor VIII (FVIII) to FVIII knockout hemophilia mice is a useful small animal model to study the physiologic response in patients iatrogenically immunized to this therapeutic protein. These mice manifest a robust, T cell-dependent, antibody response to exogenous FVIII treatment, even when encountered through traditionally tolerogenic routes. Thus, FVIII given via these routes elicits both T- and B-cell responses, whereas a control, foreign protein, such as ovalbumin (OVA), is poorly immunogenic. When FVIII is heat inactivated, it loses function and much of its immunogenicity. This suggests that FVIII's immunogenicity is principally tied to its function and not its structure. If mice are treated with the anticoagulant warfarin, which depletes other coagulation factors including thrombin, there is a reduced immune response to FVIII. Furthermore, when mice are treated with the direct thrombin inhibitor, hirudin, the T-cell responses and the serum anti-FVIII antibody concentrations are again significantly reduced. Notably, when FVIII is mixed with OVA, it acts to increase the immune response to OVA. Finally, administration of thrombin with OVA is sufficient to induce immune responses to OVA. Overall, these data support the hypothesis that formation of thrombin through the procoagulant activity of FVIII is necessary to induce costimulation for the immune response to FVIII treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4741-4748
Number of pages8
Issue number21
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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