Clinical and genetic aspects of Bernard-Soulier syndrome: Searching for genotype/phenotype correlations

Anna Savoia, Annalisa Pastore, Daniela de Rocco, Elisa Civaschi, Mariateresa di Stazio, Roberta Bottega, Federica Melazzini, Valeria Bozzi, Alessandro Pecci, Silvana Magrin, Carlo L. Balduini, Patrizia Noris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Bernard-Soulier syndrome is a severe bleeding disease due to a defect of GPIb/IX/V, a platelet complex that binds the von Willebrand factor. Due to the rarity of the disease, there are reports only on a few cases compromising any attempt to establish correlations between genotype and phenotype. In order to identify any associations, we describe the largest case series ever reported, which was evaluated systematically at the same center. Design and Methods Thirteen patients with the disease and seven obligate carriers were enrolled. We collected clinical aspects and determined platelet features, including number and size, expression of membrane glycoproteins, and ristocetin induced platelet aggregation. Mutations were identified by direct sequencing of the GP1BA, GP1BB, and GP9 genes and their effect was shown by molecular modeling analyses. Results Patients all had a moderate thrombocytopenia with giant platelets and a bleeding tendency whose severity varied among individuals. Consistent with expression levels of GPIbα always lower than 10% of control values, platelet aggregation was absent or severely reduced. Homozygous mutations were identified in the GP1BA, GP1BB and GP9 genes; six were novel alterations expected to destabilize the conformation of the respective protein. Except for obligate carriers of a GP9 mutation with a reduced GPIb/IX/V expression and defective aggregation, all the other carriers had no obvious anomalies. Conclusions Regardless of mutations identified, the patients' bleeding diathesis did not correlate with thrombocytopenia, which was always moderate, and platelet GPIbα expression, which was always severely impaired. Obligate carriers had features similar to controls though their GPIb/IX/V expression showed discrepancies. Aware of the limitations of our cohort, we cannot define any correlations. However, further investigations should be encouraged to better understand the causes of this rare and underestimated disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Bernard-Soulier syndrome
  • GP1BA
  • GP1BB and GP9 mutations
  • Macrothrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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