A new congenital platelet abnormality characterized by spontaneous platelet aggregation, enhanced von Willebrand factor platelet interaction, and the presence of all von Willebrand factor multimers in plasma
A case is reported of a 49-year-old woman with a mild bleeding tendency. Her bleeding time, platelet count and size, plasma ristocetin cofactor activity, von Willebrand factor (vWF) antigen, and vWF multimeric pattern are all within normal limits. Spontaneous platelet aggregation is observed when citrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is stirred in an aggregometer cuvette. This aggregation is completely is only slightly diminished by an antiglycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa or by an anti GPIb monoclonal antibody. The patient's PRP shows increased sensitivity to ristocetin. The distinct feature of this patient, also present in two family members studied, is that platelet aggregation is initiated by purified vWF in the absence of any other agonist. The vWF-induced platelet aggregation is abolished by anti-GPIb and anti-GPIIb/IIIa monoclonal antibodies and by EDTA (5 mmol/L). Apyrase inhibits the second wave of aggregation. Patient's platelets in PRP are four to six times more reactive to asialo vWF-induced platelet aggregation than normal platelets. The amount of radiolabeled vWF bound to platelets in the presence of either low concentration of ristocetin or asialo vWF was increased 30% compared with normal. The patient's platelet GPIb was analyzed by SDS page and immunoblotting and by binding studies with anti-GPIb monoclonal antibodies showed one band with slightly increased migration pattern and a normal number of GPIb molecules. Unlike the previously reported patients with pseudo or platelet-type von Willebrand disease, this patient has normal vWF parameters.