Epitope repertoire of human CD4+ T cells on the A3 domain of coagulation factor VIII

M. T. Reding, D. K. Okita, B. M. Diethelm-Okita, T. A. Anderson, B. M. Conti-Fine

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Severe hemophilia A patients treated with factor (F)VIII may develop antibodies (Ab) that block FVIII function (inhibitors). Autoimmune inhibitors may develop in subjects without congenital hemophilia, and cause acquired hemophilia. Hemophiliacs without inhibitors and healthy subjects may also have small amounts of antiFVIII Ab. FVIII-specific CD4+ T cells induce antiFVIII Ab synthesis. Here, we have examined their epitope repertoire in hemophilia patients and healthy subjects. We used overlapping synthetic peptides, spanning the sequence of the FVIII A3 domain, to challenge blood CD4+ T cells in proliferation assays. The epitopes recognized in hemophilia A patients with or without inhibitors, acquired hemophilia patients, or healthy subjects overlapped, yet had characteristic differences. Most members of one or more study groups recognized the sequence regions 1691-1710, 1801-1820, 1831-1850, and 1941-60. In the proposed three-dimensional structure of the A3 domain, these sequences are largely exposed to the solvent and flanked by flexible sequence loops: these are structural features characteristic of 'universal' CD4+ T epitopes. Hemophilia A patients with inhibitors recognized prominently only the sequence 1801-1820, which overlaps a known inhibitor binding site. This is consistent with the possibility that CD4+ T cells recognizing epitopes within residues 1801-1820 have a role in inducing inhibitor synthesis. In contrast, CD4+ T cells sensitized to sequences 1691-1710 and 1941-60, which are recognized by healthy subjects and hemophilia A patients without inhibitors, might curb inhibitor synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1385-1394
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Acquired hemophilia
  • CD4 cells
  • Factor VIII
  • Hemophilia A


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