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Haematologica. 2010 Aug;95(8):1366-72. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2009.019927. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Reduced survival of type 2B von Willebrand factor, irrespective of large multimer representation or thrombocytopenia.

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  • 1Dept. of Cardiologic, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, Via Ospedale Civile 105, Padua, Italy.



Type 2B von Willebrand factor (VWF) is characterized by gain of function mutations in the A1 domain inducing a greater affinity for platelet GPIb, possibly associated with the disappearance of large VWF multimers and thrombocytopenia.


VWF survival was explored using 1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) in 18 patients with type 2B von Willebrand disease (VWD) and compared with their platelet count and large VWF multimer representation.


A similarly significant shorter VWF survival, expressed as T(1/2)elimination (T(1/2)el), was observed in patients lacking large VWF multimers (type 2B) and in those with a normal multimer pattern (atypical type 2B) (4.47+/-0.41 h and 4.87+/-0.9 h, respectively, vs. normal 15.53+/-2.17 h) due mainly to a greater VWF clearance. The half-life of large VWF multimers, explored by VWF collagen binding (VWF:CB) activity, was likewise reduced. The similarly reduced VWF half-life was also confirmed by the increase in the VWF propeptide ratio (a useful tool for exploring VWF survival) which was found to be the same in type 2B and atypical type 2B patients. The post-DDAVP drop in platelet count occurred in all patients lacking large multimers but not in those with a normal multimer pattern. A correlation was always found between pre- and/or post-DDAVP thrombocytopenia and the lack of large VWF multimers in type 2B VWD while these were unrelated to the reduced VWF half-life.


In addition to demonstrating that a shorter VWF survival contributes to the type 2B and atypical type 2B VWD phenotype, our findings suggest that VWF clearance and proteolysis are independent phenomena.

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