von Willebrand factor, endothelial cell damage and atherosclerosis

Eur J Vasc Surg. 1994 Jan;8(1):10-5. doi: 10.1016/s0950-821x(05)80112-4.


von Willebrand factor (vWf) is an interesting and potentially important molecule whose biology in health and disease warrants attention. A growing body of knowledge now suggests that plasma levels of this specific product of the endothelial cell may have potential as a marker for the assessment of endothelial injury in vivo. As its functions include platelet aggregation and mediation of platelet adhesion to the subendothelium, it may also have a role in the pathogenesis of progression of atherosclerosis. In comparison to asymptomatic controls, increased levels of vWf are found in atherosclerotic vascular disease and in the presence of several of its major risk factors (smoking, hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension, obesity and diabetes). High plasma levels of vWf are also associated with the prediction of adverse clinical events such as myocardial infarction and poor outcome following arterial surgery, possibly by the promotion of thrombus formation. These and other studies indicate that research directed towards determining whether therapy to reduce levels of vWf also influences the progression of arterial disease should prove to be profitable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / blood
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Risk Factors
  • von Willebrand Factor / physiology*


  • von Willebrand Factor