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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Pathophysiology of Hereditary Angioedema

  • Author(s): Zuraw, Bruce L
  • et al.

Abstract Hereditary angioedema (HAE) causes recurrent episodes of angioedema that may be very severe and are frequently associated with significant morbidity and even mortality. Understanding the pathophysiology of this disease is crucial for proper diagnosis and management of these patients. HAE is caused by mutations in the SERPING1 gene that result in decreased plasma levels of functional C1 inhibitor. A large number of different mutations have been described that result in HAE. About 15% of patients have a mutation at or near the active site of the reactive mobile loop, resulting in a protein that lacks functional activity (type II HAE). Type I HAE is caused by a diverse range of mutations, some of which cause the nascent protein to misfold and thus to be unable to enter the secretory pathway. The primary mediator of swelling in HAE is bradykinin, a product of the plasma contact system. Bradykinin induces increased vascular permeability by activating the bradykinin B2 receptor, which results in phosphorylation of vascular endothelial cadherin. The regulation of both the bradykinin B2 receptor and peptidases that degrade bradykinin may influence HAE disease severity. HAE results from mutations in the SERPING1 gene that lead to a loss of functional C1 inhibitor. Attacks of angioedema result from generation of bradykinin, which acts on bradykinin B2 receptors to enhance vascular permeability.

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