Epidemiological studies uncovered a link between elevated plasma vWF levels and the incidence of heart disease caused by arterial thrombosis (Folsom et al. 1997). The plasma of patients with acute myocardial infarction exhibit elevated plasma vWF concentrations and support enhanced shear-induced platelet activation (SIPA), suggestive of a causative role for vWF in acute coronary thrombosis (Goto et al. 1999). Moreover, upregulated vWF antigen contributing to platelet recruitment has been found in atherosclerotic plaques, after balloon angioplasty (Bosmans et al. 1997) or collar placement (De Meyer et al. 1999) and in hyperplastic intima of autogenous arterial grafts (Qin et al. 2001).
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