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Keywords:

  • glycoprotein Ibα;
  • megakaryocytopoiesis;
  • platelets;
  • von Willebrand disease type 2B;
  • von Willebrand factor

Summary.  Type 2B von Willebrand disease (VWD2B) is caused by gain-of-function amino acid substitutions in the von Willebrand factor (VWF) A1 domain. These allow facilitated binding of mutated VWF to platelet GPIbα with prolonged lifetimes of VWF bonds and enhanced ADAMTS-13 cleavage of large VWF multimers. A bleeding rather than prothrombotic syndrome is due to: (i) decreased large VWF multimers in plasma; (ii) limited thrombus formation; and (iii) thrombocytopenia affecting some but not all patients. Accumulating evidence points to an altered megakaryocytopoiesis in VWD2B with the production of enlarged or giant platelets showing an abnormal ultrastructure and, in a cohort of patients, the presence of circulating platelet agglutinates. In fact, evidence from in vitro cultures and marrow aspirates suggests that the upregulated VWF function can lead to abnormal VWF trafficking in megakaryocytes, a modified platelet production with interacting proplatelets, and the presence or even release of platelet agglutinates in the bone marrow.