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Reviewed July 2014
What is prekallikrein deficiency?
Prekallikrein deficiency is a blood condition that usually causes no health problems. In people with this condition, blood tests show a prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (PTT), a result that is typically associated with bleeding problems; however, bleeding problems generally do not occur in prekallikrein deficiency. The condition is usually discovered when blood tests are done for other reasons.
A few people with prekallikrein deficiency have experienced health problems related to blood clotting such as heart attack, stroke, a clot in the deep veins of the arms or legs (deep vein thrombosis), nosebleeds, or excessive bleeding after surgery. However, these are common problems in the general population, and most affected individuals have other risk factors for developing them, so it is unclear whether their occurrence is related to prekallikrein deficiency.
How common is prekallikrein deficiency?
The prevalence of prekallikrein deficiency is unknown. Approximately 80 affected individuals in about 30 families have been described in the medical literature. Because prekallikrein deficiency usually does not cause any symptoms, researchers suspect that most people with the condition are never diagnosed.
What genes are related to prekallikrein deficiency?
Prekallikrein deficiency is caused by mutations in the KLKB1 gene, which provides instructions for making a protein called prekallikrein. This protein, when converted to an active form called plasma kallikrein in the blood, is involved in the early stages of blood clotting. Plasma kallikrein plays a role in a process called the intrinsic coagulation pathway (also called the contact activation pathway). This pathway turns on (activates) proteins that are needed later in the clotting process. Blood clots protect the body after an injury by sealing off damaged blood vessels and preventing further blood loss.
The KLKB1 gene mutations that cause prekallikrein deficiency reduce or eliminate functional plasma kallikrein, which likely impairs the intrinsic coagulation pathway. Researchers suggest that this lack (deficiency) of functional plasma kallikrein protein does not generally cause any symptoms because another process called the extrinsic coagulation pathway (also known as the tissue factor pathway) can compensate for the impaired intrinsic coagulation pathway.
Read more about the KLKB1 gene.
How do people inherit prekallikrein deficiency?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of prekallikrein deficiency?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of prekallikrein deficiency and may include treatment providers.
General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about prekallikrein deficiency?
You may find the following resources about prekallikrein deficiency helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for prekallikrein deficiency?
What if I still have specific questions about prekallikrein deficiency?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding prekallikrein deficiency?
autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; blood clotting ; cell ; clotting ; coagulation ; congenital ; deficiency ; gene ; heart attack ; inherited ; injury ; plasma ; population ; prevalence ; protein ; recessive ; risk factors ; surgery ; thrombosis ; tissue ; trait ; veins
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (6 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.