Differences in the prevalence of thrombophilias in different ethnic populations have been demonstrated. Because the Australian population includes many different ethnic groups, we sought to assess the effect of ethnicity in our Australian prenatal population on the prevalence of thrombophilic polymorphisms. Asymptomatic, nulliparous women (n = 1,129) recruited for a large prospective study were included in this analysis. These women had no personal or family history of venous thromboembolism and were not known to be carrying an inherited or acquired thrombophilia. Ethnicity was determined at recruitment, and women were categorized as being of Northern European, Southern European, Middle Eastern, Asian, or Other ethnicity. These women underwent genotyping for the following polymorphisms: factor V Leiden G1691A, prothrombin gene A20210G mutation, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T and A1298C, and thrombomodulin C1418T. The factor V Leiden allele was seen significantly more frequently in patients of Middle Eastern background compared to those of Northern European and Asian ethnicity (p < 0.05). The prothrombin gene mutation was seen significantly more frequently in patients of Southern European ethnicity compared to those of Northern European or Asian ethnicity (p < 0.05). The MTHFR C677T allele (mutant) was significantly less common in those of Asian ethnicity compared to patients of Northern European and Southern European ethnicity (p < 0.0005). There were no significant differences seen with the MTHFR A1298C polymorphism. The mutant thrombomodulin allele was seen significantly more frequently in Asian women compared to Northern European, Southern European, or Middle Eastern women (p < 0.005). There are important ethnic differences in the prevalence of thrombophilic polymorphisms in the Australian prenatal population.
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Vol. 78 • No. 4