We compared the properties of plasma von Willebrand factor (vWF) from normal individuals and from two patients with type IIA (Glu875Lys) and type IIB (duplication of Met 540) von Willebrand disease (vWD) with the corresponding fully multimerized recombinant proteins. We included cryosupernatant from normal human plasma and type IIA plasma (Cys509Arg). Functions of vWF were analyzed by binding assays to platelets in the presence of ristocetin or botrocetin. Parameters of binding (number of binding sites per vWF subunit, and dissociation constant Kd) were quantitatively estimated from the binding isotherms of 125I-botrocetin or glycocalicin to vWF, independently of the size of the multimers. We found that ristocetin- or botrocetin-induced binding to platelets was correlated in all cases with the size of vWF multimers. In the absence of inducer, only type IIB rvWF Met-Met540 spontaneously bound to platelets. No significant difference of binding of purified botrocetin to vWF was found between normal and patients' plasma, or between wild-type rvWF (rvWF-WT) and rvWF-Lys875. In contrast, affinity of botrocetin for type IIB rvWF Met-Met540 was decreased. Botrocetin-induced binding of glycocalicin to vWF from all plasma and cryosupernatant was similar. Compared with rvWF-WT, binding of glycocalicin to rvWF-Lys875 was normal. In contrast, the affinity for type IIB rvWF Met-Met540 was 10-fold greater. Thus, our data suggest that, in the patients tested, the abnormal IIA phenotype results from the lack of large-sized multimers and is independent of the point mutations. In contrast, the type IIB mutation is directly involved by providing a conformation to the vWF subunits that allows the high molecular weight multimers to spontaneously interact with platelet glycoprotein Ib.

This content is only available as a PDF.