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Cancer Res. 1991 Jun 15;51(12):3261-6.

Photosensitized release of von Willebrand factor from cultured human endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York 14642.


Cultured endothelial cells from the human umbilical vein were incubated with low concentrations (1 microgram/ml) of the photosensitizer Photofrin II. Following a sublethal light exposure, a light dose-dependent release of von Willebrand factor (vWf) into the culture medium was observed. Analysis of the multimeric composition of the released protein indicated that it originated from the intracellular pool of large vWf multimers stored in the Weibel-Palade bodies. This release was detected as early as 1 h postirradiation. Release was inhibited at low temperature and was dependent upon the presence of extracellular calcium. Photosensitization resulted in an influx of calcium whose time course paralleled vWf release from the cells. Since vWf mediates platelet adhesion to the vascular subendothelium, it is possible that its photochemically stimulated release in vivo could contribute to platelet thrombus formation observed in tissue following photodynamic therapy.

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