Linkage analysis of factor VIII and von Willebrand factor loci as quantitative trait loci


M.C.H. de Visser, Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Center, Department of Hematology, Leiden University Medical Center, C2-R, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands.Tel.: + 31 71 5262267; fax: + 31 71 5266755; e-mail:


Summary.  Elevated factor (F)VIII levels contribute to venous thrombotic risk. FVIII levels are determined to a large extent by levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF), its carrier protein which protects FVIII against proteolysis. VWF levels are largely dependent on ABO blood group. Subjects with blood group non-O have higher VWF and FVIII levels than individuals with blood group O. Apart from ABO blood group no genetic determinants of high FVIII levels have been identified, whereas clustering of FVIII levels has been reported within families even after adjustment for ABO blood group and VWF levels. We investigated the FVIII and VWF loci as possible quantitative trait loci (QTL) influencing FVIII and VWF levels. Two sequence repeats in the FVIII gene and three repeats in the VWF gene were typed in 52 FV Leiden families. Multipoint sib-pair linkage analysis was performed with the MAPMAKER/SIBS program. FVIII levels adjusted for VWF levels and age, and VWF levels adjusted for ABO blood group and age, were used for this linkage analysis. No linkage of FVIII levels to the FVIII locus was found, whereas we found evidence that the VWF locus contains a QTL for VWF levels [maximum likelihood no dominance variance lod score = 0.70 (P = 0.04) and non-parametric Z-score = 1.92 (P = 0.03)]. About 20% of the total variation in VWF levels may be attributed to this VWF locus.