Purpose: This review investigates and highlights the activity of Willebrand factor (VWF) and its cleaving protease as biomarkers of the development of multiple organ dysfunction in infectious and noninfectious systemic inflammatory response syndrome. State of the Art: Ultra-large VWF (ULVWF) multimers activate platelets resulting in a prothrombotic situation. Systemic inflammation is associated with increased ULVWF plasma level and a decreased ADAMTS13 activity. The potential role of ADAMTS13 as a diagnostic and prognostic marker of disseminated intravascular coagulopathy is largely underestimated. Summary: VWF is an acute phase protein and its plasma level increases in systemic inflammation. When released from endothelial cells and platelets, the native multimeric glycoprotein is mostly present in the ultralarge form (ULVWF), which may have a major clinical significance under proinflammatory conditions. ULVWFmultimers may activate endothelial cells and platelets simultaneously. The multimers undergo limited proteolysis by a specific plasma metalloprotease known as ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motif), thus, in healthy individuals only marginal amounts of circulating ULVWF are detectable. Severe hereditary or acquired ADAMTS13 deficiency causes thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), which contributes to prothrombotic coagulation abnormalities preceding organ dysfunction systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). In proinflammatory conditions, ADAMTS13 activity decreases due to various mechanisms, (i) down regulation on a transcriptional level, (ii) proteolytic degradation, and (iii) consumption due to the high substrate level. Marked dysbalance as found in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock results in substantial amounts of plasma ULVWF. This level of dysbalance is negatively correlated with platelet count and positively correlated with the severity of inflammation and the degree of organ failure.
Keywords: ADAMTS13, von Willebrand Factor, sepsis, systemic inflammation, organ failure, platelets, thrombotic microangiopathy
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport