Background The association of plasma factor XIII (FXIII) level with venous thromboembolism (VTE) is still controversial and the effect of sex and FXIII B subunit (FXIII-B) polymorphisms in this respect have not been explored. Objectives 1/ To determine FXIII activity and antigen levels in patients with a history of VTE and how they are influenced by sex and FXIII-B polymorphisms. 2/ To explore the association of FXIII levels and FXIII-B polymorphisms with the risk of VTE. Methods 218 VTE patients and equal number of age and sex matched controls were enrolled in the study. FXIII activity was measured by ammonia release assay; FXIII-A2B2 and FXIII-B levels were determined by ELISAs. FXIII-B polymorphisms were identified by RT-PCR using melting point analysis. Results Adjusted FXIII activity and FXIII-A2B2 antigen levels were significantly higher in females with a history of VTE than in the respective controls. FXIII-B levels were significantly lower in male VTE patients than in controls. FXIII-A2B2 antigen levels in the upper tertile increased the risk of VTE in females (adjusted OR: 2.52; CI: 1.18–5.38). Elevated FXIII-B antigen level had a protective effect only in males (adjusted OR: 0.19; CI: 0.08–0.46). FXIII-B Intron K c.1952 + 144 C > G polymorphism significantly lowered FXIII activity, FXIII-A2B2 and FXIII-B antigen levels in both groups. FXIII-B polymorphisms did not influence the risk of VTE. Conclusions In VTE patients the changes of FXIII level and their effect on the risk of VTE show considerable sex-specific differences. Intron K polymorphism results in decreased FXIII levels, but does not influence the risk of VTE.
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