Gene-based FVIIa prophylaxis modulates the spontaneous bleeding phenotype of hemophilia A rats

Shannon M. Zintner, Juliana C. Small, Giulia Pavani, Lynn Dankner, Oscar A. Marcos-Contreras, Phyllis A. Gimotty, Mads Kjelgaard-Hansen, Bo Wiinberg and Paris Margaritis

Key Points

  • We show how FVIIa prophylaxis in HA rats using rat FVIIa gene transfer and expression affects their bleeding phenotype.

  • Rat FVIIa transgene levels ≥708 ng/mL (≥14 nM) reduce bleeds in HA rats, whereas levels >1250 ng/mL (>25 nM) eliminate them.


A sizable proportion of hemophilia inhibitor patients fails immune tolerance induction and requires bypass agents for long-term bleed management. Recombinant human-activated coagulation Factor VII (rhFVIIa) is an on-demand bypass hemostatic agent for bleeds in hemophilia inhibitor patients. Prophylactic use of rhFVIIa may enable sustained hemostatic management of inhibitor patients, but the critical relationship of rhFVIIa circulating levels and clinical outcome in that setting remains unclear. To address this in vivo, we used the rat hemophilia A (HA) model that exhibits spontaneous bleeds and allows longitudinal studies with sufficient statistical power. We simulated activated Factor VII (FVIIa) prophylaxis by adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene transfer of a rat FVIIa transgene. Compared with naive HA animals, rat FVIIa continuous expression affected the overall observed bleeds, which were resolved with on-demand administration of recombinant rat FVIIa. Specifically, although 91% of naive animals exhibited bleeds, this was reduced to 83% and 33% in animals expressing less than 708 ng/mL (<14 nM) and at least 708 ng/mL (≥14 nM) rat FVIIa, respectively. No bleeds occurred in animals expressing higher than 1250 ng/mL (>25 nM). Rat FVIIa expression of at least 708 ng/mL was also sufficient to normalize the blood loss after a tail vein injury. Continuous, AAV-mediated rat FVIIa transgene expression had no apparent adverse effects in the hemostatic system of HA rats. This work establishes for the first time a dose dependency and threshold of circulating FVIIa antigen levels for reduction or complete elimination of bleeds in a setting of FVIIa-based HA prophylaxis.

  • Submitted October 10, 2018.
  • Accepted January 7, 2019.
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