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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Genetic basis of thrombosis

Valeria Bafunno1 / 1, 2

1Genetica Medica, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Foggia, Italy

2Unità di Emostasi e Trombosi, I.R.C.C.S. “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”, S. Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

Corresponding author: Maurizio Margaglione, MD, Istituto di Genetica Medica, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Viale Pinto, Foggia 71100, Italy Phone: +39 0881 733842, Fax: +39 0881 736082

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 48, Pages S41–S51, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2010.361, October 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


Venous thrombosis (VT) represents a common and serious disorder that occurs as the result of clotting of the blood in the venous system and venous obstruction. Environmental risk factors and genetic predisposition play an important role in the development of thrombosis. It is therefore seen as a classic example of a complex common disease. We have focused on the role of genetic risk factors, primarily related to the hemostatic system, in triggering thrombotic events. Since the identification of antithrombin deficiency in 1965, major efforts have been made during the past 15 years to identify other genetic entities that lead to increased thrombotic risk. Results of early genetic studies demonstrated that two types of genetic defects cause VT: loss of function mutations in the natural anticoagulants antithrombin, protein C and protein S and gain of function mutations in procoagulant factors V (FV Leiden) and II (prothrombin G20210A). The high incidence of these mutations in Caucasians induced a shift from family studies to case-control association studies. Several investigations have been performed on the role of other candidate genetic risk factors predisposing to VT, including such variants in FXIII, FIX and fibrinogen genes. Moreover, the contribution of genetic variation in genes encoding less-well studied proteins that are part of the anticoagulant pathways has been evaluated. Recently, different genome-wide association studies have been performed in which several single nucleotide polymorphisms were investigated and related to the risk of VT. However, further studies are needed to identify additional genetic causes of thrombosis and to assess functional molecular mechanisms.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2010;48:S41–51.

Keywords: case-control studies; family studies; genetic risks factors; venous thrombosis

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