Subunit composition of plasma von Willebrand factor in patients with the myeloproliferative syndrome.
In order to evaluate the role of proteolysis in acquired von Willebrand's disease (vWD) associated with the myeloproliferative syndrome, we have determined the relative quantity of von Willebrand factor (vWF) fragments as compared with the intact 225 kDa subunit in four patients. The plasma vWF of each individual lacked large multimers; each had a prolonged bleeding time; and both platelet and leukocyte counts were elevated. Plasma was obtained from blood drawn into 1 mmol/L leupeptin, 6 mmol/L N-ethylmaleimide, and 5 mmol/L EDTA to prevent in vitro proteolysis. vWF was isolated from plasma by immunoadsorbent chromatography, reduced, subjected to SDS-5% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and immunoblotted with a mixture of 55 anti-vWF monoclonal antibodies. In three patients with essential thrombocytosis (ET) the 176 and 140 kDa fragments were increased in proportion to the intact 225 kDa subunit indicating increased proteolysis. Treatment of one ET patient with CCNU (Lomustine) decreased the platelet count and, to a lesser extent, the white blood cell count. This was associated with a correction of the bleeding time, a partial correction of the multimeric abnormality, and a lessening of vWF cleavage. In a patient with polycythemia rubra vera (PRV) the proportion of the 176 kDa fragment was increased to the upper limit of normal but there was no definite evidence of increased proteolysis. These studies provide evidence that proteolysis plays a role in the acquired von Willebrand's disease associated with the myeloproliferative syndrome. However, other mechanisms must also be considered.
Budde, U; Dent, JA; Berkowitz, SD; Ruggeri, ZM; Zimmerman, TS
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