Platelet adhesion-aggregation reactions play an early and pivotal role in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis in scleroderma, but the mechanisms are incompletely understood. We determined whether or not plasma from 11 consecutive patients with scleroderma contained a subset of larger than normal ('supranormal') multimers of von Willebrand factor (vWF) that are potent inducers of platelet aggregation and adhesion. Supranormal multimers were found in all patients on at least one of two different occasions 9 to 12 months apart, whatever the duration and severity of the disease, but in none of the normal controls. Administration of low-dose aspirin (40 mg) to five of the 11 patients for ten days to inhibit the platelet release reaction slightly reduced the amounts of supranormal multimers, suggesting that they might originate in part from platelets. Supranormal multimers may contribute to the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis by inducing platelet aggregation and enhancing adhesion to subendothelium under the conditions of elevated shear stress occurring in the partially occluded vessels of the arterial microcirculation of scleroderma.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 1989|
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