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Thromb Haemost. 1997 Jul;78(1):445-50.

The significance of subendothelial von Willebrand factor.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


von Willebrand factor (vWf) serves to bridge between receptors on the platelet cytoplasmic membrane and the extracellular matrix. In addition to circulating in plasma, vWf is deposited into the extracellular matrix of the subendothelium where it is associated with type VI collagen microfibrils, but not with the elastin-associated microfibrils which are present in the deepest portion of the subendothelium at the zone of the internal elastic lamina. The reaction of platelets to type VI collagen in flow systems is qualitatively different from the shear rate dependent adhesion and aggregation response which is observed with fibrillar type I collagen, exhibiting a response only at low shear rates. The adhesion response to type VI collagen is dependent upon vWf, GP Ib and the GP IIb-IIIa complex. Platelets exposed to purified fibrillin-containing elastin-associated microfibrils adhere and aggregate at low shear rates; this response appears to involve GP IIb-IIIa but not GP Ib. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that type VI collagen is a physiologically relevant binding site for vWf in subendothelium.

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