Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is caused by deficiency or dysfunction in the C1 inhibitor (C1-INH) protein. C1-INH replacement therapy is used to treat patients with HAE to restore the missing or dysfunctional protein. In vitro studies showed that C1-INH inhibits prekallikrein activation and bradykinin formation in a dose-dependent manner when added to the plasma of patients with HAE. HAE is highly variable in clinical presentation, and early studies suggested that there was not a clear relationship between functional C1-INH levels and disease activity. Later, a threshold of approximately 40% functional C1-INH was identified, above which patients’ risk of an attack was diminished. Long-term prophylaxis with plasma-derived C1-INH effectively reduces attack frequency and severity. Pharmacokinetic modeling shows that functional C1-INH levels are associated with the relative risk of having an attack. Subcutaneous administration of C1-INH results in consistently high levels of functional C1-INH activity, whereas intravenous administration results in periods of low trough functional C1-INH activity before the next scheduled dose, increasing the risk of an angioedema attack. These studies suggest that measurement of functional C1-INH activity may be useful as a biomarker of the risk of an attack in patients with HAE who are receiving long-term prophylaxis with plasma-derived C1-INH. Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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