The Genetic Basis of Factor V Leiden
Factor V Leiden is caused by a mutation in the Factor V gene, leading to a change in the protein’s structure. The mutation results in an alteration of the Factor V protein, making it resistant to being inactivated by a natural anticoagulant called activated protein C (APC). As a result, the mutated Factor V remains active in the clotting process for a longer time, increasing the risk of blood clot formation.
Inheritance and Prevalence
Factor V Leiden is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, meaning that a single copy of the mutated gene from either parent is sufficient to cause the condition. Individuals who inherit two copies of the mutated gene, one from each parent (homozygous), have a higher risk of developing blood clots compared to those who inherit only one copy (heterozygous).
Factor V Leiden is most commonly found in people of European descent, particularly in populations with a prevalence of 5-8%. It is less common in individuals of African, Asian, and Native American heritage.
Diagnosing Factor V Leiden involves blood tests to detect the presence of the mutation. The most common test is the Factor V DNA test, which identifies the specific genetic change associated with this condition. Doctors may also perform other tests, such as activated protein C resistance tests or coagulation studies, to confirm the diagnosis and assess clotting tendencies.
Factor V Leiden is a common genetic disorder that can lead to an increased risk of blood clot formation. Understanding its genetic basis, symptoms, and potential complications is crucial for early detection and appropriate management. If you suspect you may have Factor V Leiden or have a family history of thrombophilia, seek medical advice and genetic testing to ensure timely intervention and personalized care.