von Willebrand factor (vWF) is synthesized in endothelial cells (EC) and may be either secreted constitutively or stored in Weibel-Palade bodies (WPB) for regulated release. Because fibrin stimulates rapid vWF release from EC, we examined the binding of EC synthesized vWF to fibrin. Culture medium containing constitutively secreted vWF was removed from metabolically labeled primary cultures of human umbilical vein EC, and vWF released from WPB was obtained after stimulation by A23187. vWF-deficient fibrinogen with or without factor XIII was added to releasate or media and clotted with thrombin to form crosslinked or noncrosslinked fibrin. vWF was immunopurified from releasate or media before and after clotting, and the amount and multimeric pattern of vWF bound was determined after sodium dodecyl sulfate agarose gel electrophoresis. High molecular weight multimers of vWF, whether secreted constitutively or released from WPB, bound preferentially to fibrin. Multimers of greater than 20 subunits represented 60% +/- 4% (SEM) of A23187 released vWF and 11% +/- 5% of media vWF, but binding to fibrin was similar, 96% +/- 1% and 94% +/- 2%, respectively. A progressively smaller proportion of vWF bound as multimer size decreased, and dimeric vWF binding was least, with 34% +/- 5% binding from A23187 releasate and 51% +/- 4% from media. The amount of vWF binding to crosslinked or noncrosslinked fibrin was similar, and preferential binding of high molecular weight multimers occurred with both. As measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, 45% +/- 2% of constitutively secreted vWF bound to crosslinked fibrin and 50% +/- 2% to noncrosslinked fibrin. The propolypeptide of vWF did not bind to fibrin. These findings indicate that binding of EC secreted vWF binding to fibrin depends on multimeric size but not on factor XIII crosslinking. This suggests that vWF released from EC in the presence of fibrin will bind locally, thereby facilitating platelet adhesion to the hemostatic plug or thrombus.

This content is only available as a PDF.
Sign in via your Institution