DESIGN AND METHODS:
We studied 23 patients with PNH, before and after five and 11 weeks of treatment with eculizumab. We examined markers of thrombin generation and reactional fibrinolysis (prothrombin fragment 1+2 (F1+2), D-dimers, and plasmin antiplasmin complexes (P-AP), and endothelial dysfunction tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1), soluble thrombomodulin (sTM), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM-1), endothelial microparticles (EMPs), and tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI).
At baseline, vWF, sVCAM-1, the EMP count, and F1+2 and D-dimer levels were significantly elevated in the patients, including those with no history of clinical thrombosis. Treatment with eculizumab was associated with significant decreases in plasma markers of coagulation activation (F1+2, P=0.012, and D-dimers, P=0.01), and reactional fibrinolysis (P-AP, P=0.0002). Eculizumab treatment also significantly reduced plasma markers of endothelial cell activation (t-PA, P=0.0005, sVCAM-1, P<0.0001, and vWF, P=0.0047) and total (P=0.0008) and free (P=0.0013) TFPI plasma levels.
Our results suggest a new understanding of the contribution of endothelial cell activation to the pathogenesis of thrombosis in PNH. The terminal complement inhibitor, eculizumab, induced a significant and sustained decrease in the activation of both the plasma hemostatic system and the vascular endothelium, likely contributing to the protective effect of eculizumab on thrombosis in this setting.