Objective: Patients with lupus anticoagulant (LA) have an increased incidence of venous and arterial thrombosis whose pathogenesis is still unclear. High molecular weight von Willebrand Factor (vWF) multimers seem to play a causal role in shear stress-induced platelet aggregation and thrombus formation. We studied whether in patients with LA, alterations in the vWF multimers might coexist.
Methods: The multimeric composition of plasma vWF was analysed by SDS-electrophoresis and immunoblotting in 43 subjects positive for LA. About 2/3 of the patients had had either ischemic stroke, recurrent abortions, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a combination of these; the remaining subjects had never had any thrombotic events.
Results: An abnormal vWf multimeric pattern was found in 16 patients (37.2%); no correlation was found with the diagnosis, but the presence of abnormal vWF significantly correlated with the site of the thrombosis: indeed, it was never detected in subjects with DVT, but was found in 71.4% of patients with multiple abortions, in 50% of those with stroke and even in 25% of non-thrombotic patients.
Conclusion: The hypothesis is put forward that abnormal VWF may represent an additional risk factor to LA for arterial thrombosis.