Factor XIII Deficiency

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Factor XIII (FXIII) is a tetrameric zymogen (FXIII-A2B2) that is converted into an active transglutaminase (FXIIIa) by thrombin and Ca2+ in the terminal phase of the clotting cascade. By cross-linking fibrin chains and α2 plasmin inhibitor to fibrin, FXIIIa mechanically stabilizes fibrin and protects it from fibrinolysis. Severe deficiency of the potentially active A subunit (FXIII-A) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic diathesis. Delayed umbilical stump bleeding is characteristic, and subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intracranial bleeding occurs with a relatively high frequency in nonsupplemented patients. In addition, impaired wound healing and spontaneous abortion in women are also features of FXIII deficiency. The extremely rare B subunit deficiency results in milder bleeding symptoms. FXIII concentrate is now available for on-demand treatment and primary prophylaxis. A quantitative FXIII activity assay is recommended as a screening test for the diagnosis of FXIII deficiency. For classification purposes, FXIII-A2B2 antigen in the plasma is first determined, and if decreased, further measurement of the individual subunits is recommended in the plasma and FXIII-A in platelet lysate. Analytical aspects of FXIII activity and antigen assays are discussed in this article. There are no hot-spot mutations in the F13A1 and F13B genes, and the majority of causative mutations are missense/nonsense point mutations.

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