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Keywords:

  • von Willebrand factor;
  • von Willebrand disease;
  • factor VIII;
  • desmopressin;
  • dDAVP

Summary It is generally thought that the plasma increase in factor VIII (FVIII) after desmopressin (dDAVP) infusion is related to the plasma increase in von Willebrand factor (vWF), which is the plasma carrier for FVIII. The aim of this study was to evaluate the FVIII and vWF responses in patients with type 2N vWD, characterized by the mild FVIII deficiency related to markedly decreased affinity of vWF for FVIII. At different times after one intravenous dose of dDAVP (0.3 or 0.4 μg/kg) we measured the FVIII coagulant activity, FVIII antigen, vWF antigen and ristocetin cofactor activity, in eight patients with either Arg91Gln or Arg53Trp amino acid substitution in mature vWF. In all the patients, whatever their mutation, the dDAVP infusion resulted in a 2.3. ± 0.7 -fold increase of vWF and a variable rise (9.5 ± 7.7 times) of FVIII, whereas the vWF capacity to bind FVIII was not improved. The FVIII response was more transient than vWF response, and FVIII half disappearance time was evaluated to the approximately 3h. The data indicate that the stabilizing effect of vWF on FVIII is not responsible for the FVIII increase induced by dDAVP. The clinical implication of this study is that, in the 2N vWD patients, dDAVP may be a useful prophylactic or curative treatment when the test dose has been shown to be effective to reach a haemostatic FVIII level.