Pathophysiology

Normal stem cells are present in the bone marrow of patients with polycythemia vera (PV). Also present are abnormal clonal stem cells that interfere with or suppress normal stem cell growth and maturation. Evidence indicates that the etiology of panmyelosis is unregulated neoplastic proliferation. The origin of the stem cell transformation remains unknown.

Bone marrow film at 100X magnification demonstrating hypercellularity and increased number of megakaryocytes. Courtesy of U. Woermann, MD, Division of Instructional Media, Institute for Medical Education, University of Bern, Switzerland. Progenitors of the blood cells in these patients display abnormal responses to growth factors, suggesting the presence of a defect in a signaling pathway common to different growth factors. The observation that in vitro erythroid colonies grow when no endogenous erythropoietin (Epo) is added to the culture and the presence of a truncated Epo receptor in familial erythrocytosis indicate that the defect is in the transmission of the signal. The sensitivity of polycythemia vera (PV) progenitors to multiple cytokines suggests that the defect may lie in a common pathway downstream from multiple receptors. Increased expression of BCLX suggests an additional decrease in cellular apoptosis. Several reasons suggest that a mutation on the Janus kinase-2 gene (JAK2) is the most likely candidate gene involved in polycythemia vera (PV) pathogenesis, as JAK2 is directly involved in the intracellular signaling following exposure to cytokines to which polycythemia vera (PV) progenitor cells display hypersensitivity.[4] A recurrent unique acquired clonal mutation in JAK2 was found in most patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and other myeloproliferative diseases (MPDs) including essential thrombocythemia and idiopathic myelofibrosis. A unique valine to phenylalanine substitution at position 617 (V617F) in the pseudokinase JAK2 domain has been identified called JAK2V617F that leads to a permanently turned on signaling at the affected cytokine receptors.[5, 6, 7, 8] How these mutations interact with the wild type kinase genes and how they manifest into different forms of MPDs need to be elucidated. Thromboses and bleeding are frequent in persons with polycythemia vera (PV) and MPD, and they result from the disruption of hemostatic mechanisms because of (1) an increased level of red blood cells and (2) an elevation of the platelet count. There are findings that indicate the

Hyperhomocystinemia is a risk factor for thrombosis and is also widely prevalent in patients with MPD (35% in controls. the level of which is increased in persons with MPD. which can contribute to thrombosis.additional roles of tissue factor and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMLs) in clotting. the platelet surface as a contributor to phospholipid-dependent coagulation reactions. von Willebrand syndrome is largely related to the absorption of von Willebrand factor onto the platelets. Tissue factor is also synthesized by blood leukocytes. accounting for approximately 12-15% of all patients with this syndrome. 56% in persons with PV). and the entity of microparticles. reducing the platelet count should alleviate the bleeding and the syndrome. Previous Next Section: Epidemiology . Acquired von Willebrand syndrome is an established cause of bleeding in persons with MPD.

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