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Free Content Hereditary angioedema: Pathophysiology (HAE type I, HAE type II, and HAE nC1-INH)

The pathophysiology of hereditary angioedema (HAE) in virtually all cases is the result of the uncontrolled production of the vasoactive peptide bradykinin. C1 inhibitor (C1-INH) is a serine protease inhibitor, which, under normal circumstances, is the regulator of critical enzymes that are active in the cascades that result in bradykinin generation. In the classic forms of HAE, C1-INH is not produced in sufficient quantities (<40% of normal) or the function is <40% of normal activity. The major pathway for the production of bradykinin is the “contact system,” also known as the kallikrein-kinin system. This system begins with the activation of factor XII (FXII) to FXIIa, by a variety of physiologic and pathologic stimuli. FXIIa is a serine protease that binds to surfaces and cleaves prekallikrein to the active serine protease kallikrein. Kallikrein then cleaves high-molecular-weight kininogen to release the nonapeptide bradykinin. Bradykinin binds to the bradykinin β2 receptor, which increases vascular permeability and allows the flow of fluids into the extracellular space and results in angioedema. The two major enzymes generated in this cascade FXIIa and kallikrein are inhibited by C1-INH, which is the major regulator of this cascade. Failure to adequately control the production of bradykinin is thus the major mechanism for HAE. Several other types of HAE in which C1-INH is not decreased (HAE nlC1-INH) have been described. The alterations in FXII and plasminogen (also a serine protease inhibited by C1-INH) like with classic HAE are the result of dysregulation of bradykinin generation. Only genetic alterations in angiopoietin-1 may not be related to bradykinin generation, rather related to the control of the effect of bradykinin on the vascular endothelium.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2020

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