What is the pathophysiology of factor X deficiency?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Perumal Thiagarajan, MD  more...
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In the blood coagulation cascade, factor X is cleaved to form factor Xa, an active serine protease. As the first step in the common pathway to thrombus formation, factor X can be activated by products of both the intrinsic and extrinsic clotting cascades. Activation by the extrinsic pathway occurs via the complex of tissue factor and factor VIIa. Activation by the intrinsic pathway occurs via the interaction of factor IXa and factor VIIIa. Both pathways of activation require the presence of calcium ions and a phospholipid surface.

Once formed, factor Xa is then responsible for the conversion of prothrombin to its active form, thrombin, which is responsible for activating fibrinogen and allowing clot formation. It also functions in a positive feedback loop by activating factor V, factor VII, and factor VIII. Factor Xa can suppress the coagulation cascade by inactivating both factor VIII and tissue factor. Factor Xa is ultimately inactivated by forming a complex with antithrombin, which then undergoes hepatic clearance.

Factor X deficiency may arise because of reduced synthesis of the protein, which is known as type I deficiency state, or because of production of a dysfunctional molecule, which is known as type II deficiency state. Authorities believe that a complete absence of factor X is incompatible with life. Studies of knockout mice have revealed a lethal phenotype, with death occurring in utero or within a few days of birth. [12] Most often, missense mutations are the cause of congenital factor X deficiency. [13, 14]

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