What is the role of the von Willebrand factor (vWF) in the pathophysiology of hemophilia A?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Douglass A Drelich, MD; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP  more...
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Answer

FVIII circulates in plasma in a noncovalently bound complex with vWF, which plays significant roles in the function, production, stabilization, conformation, and immunogenicity of FVIII. [3] VWF has been termed FVIII-related antigen (FVIII-R); related terminology for FVIII is FVIII-coagulant (FVIII-C).

VWF appears to promote assembly of the heavy and light chains of FVIII and more efficient secretion of FVIII from the endoplasmic reticulum. It also directs FVIII into the Weibel-Palade bodies, which are the intracellular storage sites for vWF.

In plasma, vWF stabilizes FVIII and protects it from degradation. In the presence of normal vWF protein, the half-life of FVIII is approximately 12 hours, whereas in the absence of vWF, the half-life of FVIII-C is reduced to 2 hours. [4, 5, 6]


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