ADAMTS-13 rapidly cleaves newly secreted ultralarge von Willebrand factor multimers on the endothelial surface under flowing conditions

Author(s): Dong JF, Moake JL, Nolasco L, Bernardo A, Arceneaux W, et al.


Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a devastating thrombotic disorder caused by widespread microvascular thrombi composed of platelets and von Willebrand factor (VWF). The disorder is associated with a deficiency of the VWF-cleaving metalloprotease, ADAMTS-13, with consequent accumulation of ultralarge (UL) VWF multimers in the plasma. ULVWF multimers, unlike plasma forms of VWF, attach spontaneously to platelet GP Ibalpha, a component of the GP Ib-IX-V complex. We have found that ULVWF multimers secreted from stimulated endothelial cells (ECs) remained anchored to the endothelial surface where platelets and Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing the GP Ib-IX-V complex attached to form long beads-on-a-string structures in the presence of fluid shear stresses in both the venous (2.5 dyne/cm(2)) and arterial (20 and 50 dyne/cm(2)) ranges. Although measurement of the activity of the ADAMTS-13 VWF-cleaving metalloprotease in vitro requires prolonged incubation of the enzyme with VWF under nonphysiologic conditions, EC-derived ULVWF strings with attached platelets were cleaved within seconds to minutes in the presence of normal plasma (containing approximately 100% ADAMTS-13 activity) or in the presence of partially purified ADAMTS-13. By contrast, the strings persisted for the entire period of perfusion (10 minutes) in the presence of plasma from patients with TTP containing 0% to 10% ADAMTS-13 activity. These results suggest that cleavage of EC-derived ULVWF multimers by ADAMTS-13 is a rapid physiologic process that occurs on endothelial cell surfaces.

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