Thromboembolic events (TE) are the most common complications of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Clinical parameters, including patient age and mutation status, are used to risk-stratify patients with MPN, but a true biomarker of TE risk is lacking. Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), an endoplasmic reticulum protein vital for protein folding, also possesses essential extracellular functions, including regulation of thrombus formation. Pharmacologic PDI inhibition prevents thrombus formation, but whether pathologic increases in PDI increase TE risk remains unknown.
We evaluated the association of plasma PDI levels and risk of TE in a cohort of patients with MPN with established diagnosis of polycythemia vera (PV) or essential thrombocythemia (ET), compared with healthy controls. Plasma PDI was measured at enrollment and subjects followed prospectively for development of TE.
A subset of patients, primarily those with JAK2-mutated MPN, had significantly elevated plasma PDI levels as compared with controls. Plasma PDI was functionally active. There was no association between PDI levels and clinical parameters typically used to risk-stratify patients with MPN. The risk of TE was 8-fold greater in those with PDI levels above 2.5 ng/mL. Circulating endothelial cells from JAK2-mutated MPN patients, but not platelets, demonstrated augmented PDI release, suggesting endothelial activation as a source of increased plasma PDI in MPN.
The observed association between plasma PDI levels and increased risk of TE in patients with JAK2-mutated MPN has both prognostic and therapeutic implications.