The Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) is an autosomal recessive inherited disorder characterized by oculocutaneous albinism, tissue accumulation of ceroid pigment, and a mild to moderate bleeding diathesis attributed to storage-pool deficient (SPD) platlets. Patients have platelet aggregation and release abnormalities. In addition, low levels of plasma von Willebrand factor (vWF) antigen in some HPS patients have been associated with a greater bleeding tendency than would be predicted from either condition alone. Other HPS patients have severe bleeding despite normal levels of plasma vWF, suggesting that at least one additional factor is responsible for their bleeding diathesis. Because platelet vWF levels have been well correlated with clinical bleeding times in patients with von Willebrand's disease, we have measured the platelet vWF activity and antigen levels in 30 HPS patients and have attempted to correlate their clinical bleeding with these values. The platelet vWF activity levels in patients was significantly lower than that of normal subjects (P < 0.0001). The patients as a group also had slightly lower values of plasma vWF activity when compared with normals (P-0.03). In 11 of the HPS patients, the multimeric structure of plasma vWF showed a decrease in the high molecular weight multimers and an increase in the low molecular weight multimers. In correlating the platelet and plasma vWF values with the bleeding histories, we were not able to show a predictable relationship in the majority of the patients.