The relationship between the multimeric size of factor VIII-von Willebrand factor (FVIII-vWF) and the support of platelet adhesion to subendothelium was studied in an annular perfusion chamber, employing human renal and umbilical arteries. Commercial factor VIII concentrates containing multimers of low molecular weight that had been shown not to correct the bleeding time upon infusion into patients with von Willebrand's disease did not support platelet adhesion in the perfusion chamber. Cryoprecipitate and two experimental FVIII-vWF concentrates containing multimers of high molecular weight supported platelet adhesion. Factor VIII-vWF purified from cryoprecipitate was subdivided into three fractions of different molecular weights (6.0–14.0, 4.0–9.0, and 3.0–7.5 X 10(6) dalton). These fractions appeared to bind equally well and to be equally effective in supporting platelet adhesion. Factor VIII-vWF with multimers of low molecular weight (0.5–1.5 X 10(6) dalton) were prepared by partial reduction. Binding of FVIII-vWF to subendothelium was not impaired, and the support of platelet adhesion appeared to be more resistant to the effect of reduction than the ristocetin cofactor activity. At high shear rate (2,500 sec-1), increased platelet adhesion was observed with partially reduced FVIII- vWF. These data indicate that the ability of FVIII-vWF preparations to correct the bleeding time is reflected in enhanced platelet adhesion to subendothelium in a perfusion chamber. These data also emphasize that multimeric size is not the only factor determining whether FVIII-vWF will support platelet adhesion.

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