von Willebrand factor (VWF) is synthesized in megakaryocytes and endothelial cells and stored in a-granules and Weibel-Palade bodies, respectively. VWF levels are elevated in both chronic and acute inflammation. ADAMTS13 (A D isintegrin-like A nd M etalloprotease with T hrombo s pondin type I repeats-13) is a metalloprotease that cleaves ultra large von Willebrand factor (ULVWF) multimers quickly after its release from endothelium. Recent studies have found that VWF promotes leukocyte adhesion in vitro and that ADAMTS13 activity is reduced in inflammation and sepsis. We hypothesized that by cleaving ULVWF multimers, ADAMTS13 not only inhibits thrombosis, but also attenuates leukocyte rolling and adhesion. Using intravital microscopy, we found more leukocyte rolling/min on the unstimulated veins in Adamts13-/- mice (Mean ± SE: 98 ± 16) compared to WT (Mean ± SE: 35 ± 6, P<0.001), n=18–20 from 10–11 mice per group. This process was dependent on VWF because the number of leukocytes rolling in Adamts13-/-/Vwf-/- veins was similar to that in Vwf-/-. Significantly increased soluble P-selectin and VWF concentrations were found in the plasma of Adamts13-/- compared to WT mice as quantitated by ELISA. In addition, endothelial P-selectin surface expression was increased in Adamts13-/- mice compared to WT. These results suggest elevated release of Weibel-Palade bodies in Adamts13-/- mice. Notably, circulating platelets were not activated in the absence of ADAMTS13. Upon stimulation of the mesentery with histamine, leukocyte rolling was slower in Adamts13-/- veins compared to WT. Furthermore, upon stimulation with the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha (i.v) 3.5 h prior to surgery, the number of leukocytes adhering/250 um was significantly increased in microvenules (diameter of 25–30 um) of Adamts13-/- mice (Mean ± SD: 21 ± 6) compared to WT (Mean ± SD: 12 ± 5, P<0.001), n=10–11 mice per group. This firm adhesion was also dependent on VWF because the number of adherent leukocytes in veins of Adamts13-/-/Vwf-/- was similar to Vwf-/-. Our studies indicate a crucial role for ADAMTS13 in preventing excessive spontaneous Weibel-Palade secretion and in attenuating leukocyte rolling and adhesion to ultra large VWF presented by endothelial cells during inflammation.

Disclosure:Research Funding: BaXter Bioscience, Vienna, Austria.

Author notes

Dr. Chuahan is the recipient of the 2007 Mary Rodes Gibson Memorial Award. The presentation of this abstract was made at the Special Symposium on the Basic Science of Hemostasis and Thrombosis, Tuesday, December 11, 1:30 p.m.