A significant fraction (30%) of the genetically determined variance in plasma concentration of the von Willebrand factor antigen (vWf:Ag) has been shown to be related to ABH determinants. Individuals with blood group O, who have the highest amounts of blood group H substance, have the lowest concentration of vWf:Ag. The Lewis substances, Le(a) and Le(b), are biochemically closely related to the ABH substances as both can be produced from the same precursor substance. We studied the effect of the presence of the Lewis antigens on the plasma concentration of vWf:Ag and factor VIII antigen (VIII:Ag) in 323 individuals of different ABO groups from a series of twins and in 58 blood donors of blood group O. Among persons belonging to blood group O, those with the Le(a) antigen had a higher concentration of both vWf:Ag and VIII:Ag than individuals lacking Le(a). Le(a+b-) people are nonsecretors and Le(a-b+) people are secretors of ABH substance. Thus, the lowest concentration of vWf:Ag and VIII:Ag was found in group O secretors. The effect is most likely due to an effect of the secretor locus. This finding may be of importance for the detection of carriers of hemophilia A and for the diagnosis of type I von Willebrand disease.

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