Introduction: Thromboxane A2 [TxA2] is generated from arachidonic acid by cyclooxigenase-1 (COX-1) (prostaglandin H synthase-1) and thromboxane synthase. Aspirin, which irreversibly inhibits COX-1, is a widely used antiplatelet therapy with proven clinical efficacy. Inherited platelet disorders (IPD) are rare diseases caused by alterations of relevant genes in platelet formation and/or function. Despite the relevance of the TxA2 pathway in platelet physiology, few patients with mutations in PTGS1, the gene encoding COX-1, have been identified (<5 cases worldwide).

Objective: Characterization of a patient with aspirin-like platelet defect and moderate bleeding, enrolled in the Spanish multicentric project "Functional and molecular characterization of patients with IPD".

Methods: The index case is a 13-year-old adopted girl of Asian origin, referred because of moderate chronic bleeding (BAT-ISTH=6) and an aspirin-like platelet dysfunction. No coagulation defect or other relevant clinical symptoms were present. Platelet phenotyping included: blood count, PFA-100; platelet aggregation [LTA], glycoproteins (GP), activation and secretion of granules by flow cytometry (FC), TxA2 synthesis by enzyme-immunoassay, synthesis of eicosanoids by tandem gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (LC-MS), western-blot (WB) of platelet lysates, and immunofluorescence (IF) assays. The patient's DNA was analyzed with a HTS-gene panel (Bastida et al, Haematologica 2018). A HEK 293T cell transfection model was established to further assess the pathogenicity of the candidate variant found in the patient.

Results: The index case has normal platelet size and count (206x109/L; 11.4 fL). PFA-100 times were normal for COL-ADP and prolonged for COL-EPI (>300s). The FC analysis showed normal expression of GPs (Ib/IX, IIb/IIIa, Ia, GPVI) and reduced fibrinogen*488 binding (20-30%) in response to ADP, TRAP and low dose CRP (2ug/mL). P-selectin and CD63 secretion with agonists was comparable to those of controls. LTA was normal with ristocetin (1.25mg/mL) and TRAP (25uM), reduced by 40-50% with ADP (10uM) and collagen (3ug/mL) and absent with epinephrine (10uM), low dose collagen (1ug/mL) and arachidonic acid (1.6mM). LTA with U46619 (5uM), a direct agonist of the TxA2 receptor, was normal, suggesting a defect in TxA2 synthesis. Indeed, TxA2 levels in LTA supernatants in the patient were very low (5ng/mL; <10% vs. two controls). A significant reduction (50-90%) in TxA2 production was confirmed in the patient whole blood stimulated with collagen or TRAP, as measured by LC-MS. HTS analysis revealed that the patient is a heterozygous carrier of the variant c.428A>G, [p.Asn143Ser] in PTGS1. This variant, not previously described, affects a conserved residue in the catalytic domain of COX-1, which is one of the three N-glycosylation sites in the enzyme. The variant was not associated with reduced COX-1 expression as evaluated by WB in platelet lysates, and by IF in spread washed platelets and leukocytes. HEK 293T cells transfected with wild-type COX-1 construct (validated by RT-PCR and WB), displayed substantial TxA2 synthesis (500ng/mL; 2.5x105 transfected cells) in response to arachidonic acid. In contrast, similar transfection of p.143Ser COX-1 mutant almost abrogated this TxA2 production (≈50-75ng/mL in 2.5x105 transfected cells).

Conclusion: We have identified a novel autosomal dominant COX-1 variant, p.Asn143Ser, associated with functional haploinsufficiency of the enzyme and platelet aggregation defects. To our knowledge, this case represents the third description of variants in PTGS1 (Nance, JTH 2016; Sivapalaratnam, Blood 2018), which cause platelet dysfunction and bleeding.


Almarza:Rocket Pharmaceuticals: Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties, Research Funding. Bueren:Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Consultancy, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties: Inventor on patents on lentiviral vectors filled by CIEMAT, CIBERER and F.J.D and may be entitled to receive financial benefits from the licensing of such patents, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.