Patients with severe factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency (hemophilia A [HemA]) develop neutralizing antibodies (inhibitors) against FVIII in up to ~30% of cases. For HemA patients with inhibitors, activated recombinant factor VII (rFVIIa) is a treatment option. High levels of rFVIIa are required for treating HemA patients with inhibitors to induce direct activation of factor X on the surface of activated platelets via a tissue factor (TF)-independent mechanism (Hoffman M, Monroe DM. Thromb Res. 2010;125(suppl 1):S16-S18). To assess how rFVIIa-mediated clot formation in HemA patients with inhibitors may differ from unaffected individuals, we compared the effect of rFVIIa on HemA versus control (or HemA supplemented with 100% FVIII) clot formation in human and/or mouse systems. By TF-induced thrombin generation assay, increasing rFVIIa from 5 nM to 100 nM did not appreciably alter the kinetics or extent of thrombin generation compared with the same human HemA plasma containing 100% FVIII. Confocal microscopy of human HemA plasma clots generated with 75 nM rFVIIa and TF showed few branching fibrin fibers and an open fibrin meshwork. In contrast, TF-induced coagulation of the same HemA plasma containing 100% FVIII formed fibrin clots with numerous branches, interconnecting to form a dense meshwork. To confirm that these findings reflect rFVIIa-mediated clot formation in vivo, we assessed the intrinsic coagulation of mouse HemA whole blood collected without anticoagulant and spiked with rFVIIa. Intrinsic coagulation with rFVIIa was assessed by T2 magnetic resonance (T2MR), a technique capable of monitoring the separation of whole blood into serum, loose-clot, and tight-clot compartments during coagulation (Skewis et al. Clin Chem. 2014;60:1174-1182; Cines et al. Blood. 2014;123:1596-1603). By T2MR, rFVIIa induced the separation of HemA whole blood into the serum and clot compartments, indicating that the reduced fibrin generation with rFVIIa did not interfere with whole blood coagulation. Furthermore, saphenous vein puncture of HemA mice treated with rFVIIa showed a dose-dependent decrease in clot times. Scanning electron microscopy of the clots extracted from these HemA mice indicated markedly different composition than clots extracted from wild-type mice. In wild-type clots, fibrin and polyhedral erythrocytes formed a large proportion of the total structures. In contrast, clots from rFVIIa-treated HemA mice consisted primarily of platelets and erythrocytes with forms intermediate between discoid and polyhedral but, surprisingly, low fibrin content. Taken together, these data suggest that rFVIIa-mediated clot formation may require greater activated platelet involvement, which would be consistent with the TF-independent mechanism of action proposed for rFVIIa in HemA. Finally, the compositional difference between clots from wild-type versus HemA mice dosed with rFVIIa suggest that evaluating HemA therapies for their ability to form more physiologic clots could be an approach to improve treatment options for patients with HemA.


Leong:Bayer: Employment. Xu:Bayer: Employment. Mallari:Bayer: Employment. Wong:Bayer: Employment. Sim:Bayer: Employment. Cuker:Stago: Consultancy; Genzyme: Consultancy; Amgen: Consultancy; Biogen-Idec: Consultancy, Research Funding; T2 Biosystems: Research Funding. Marturano:T2 Biosystems: Employment. Lowery:T2 Biosystems: Employment. Kauser:Bayer: Employment. Weisel:Bayer: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.