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Int J Hematol. 2002 Jan;75(1):9-18.

Molecular genetics of type 2 von Willebrand disease.

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  • 1INSERM U.143, Le Kremlin-BicĂȘtre, Lille, France.


Type 2 von Willebrand disease (VWD) is characterized by a wide heterogeneity of functional and structural defects. These abnormalities' cause either defective von Willebrand factor (VWF)-dependent platelet function in subtypes 2A, 2B, and 2M or defective VWF-factor VIII (FVIII) binding in subtype 2N. The diagnoses of types 2A, 2B, and 2M VWD may be guided by the observation of disproportionately low levels of ristocetin cofactor activity or collagen-binding capacity relative to VWF antigen. The abnormal platelet-dependent function is often associated with the absence of high molecular weight (HMW) multimers (type 2A, type 2B), but the HMW multimers may also be present (type 2M, some type 2B), and supranormal multimers may exist ("Vicenza" variant). The observation of a low FVIII-to-VWF:Ag ratio is a hallmark of type 2N VWD. in which the FVIII levels depend on the severity of the FVIII-binding defect. Today, the identification of mutations in particular domains of the pre-pro-VWF is helpful in classifying these variants and providing further insight into the structure-function relationship and the biosynthesis of VWF. Thus, mutations in the D2 domain, involved in the multimerization process, are found in patients with type 2A, formerly named IIC VWD. Mutations located in the D' domain or in the N terminus of the D3 domain define type 2N VWD. Mutations in the D3 domain characterize Vicenza and IIE patients. Mutations in the A1 domain may modify the binding of VWF multimers to platelets, either increasing (type 2B) or decreasing (type 2M, 2A/2M) the affinity of VWF for platelets. In type 2A VWD, molecular abnormalities identified in the A2 domain, which contains a specific proteolytic site, are associated with alterations in folding, impairing VWF secretion or increasing its susceptibility to proteolysis. Finally, a mutation localized in the carboxy-terminus CK domain, which is crucial for the dimerization of the VWF subunit, has been identified in a rare subtype 2A, formerly named IID.

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