International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-012-1041-x Pages: 353-361

von Willebrand factor: at the crossroads of bleeding and thrombosis

1. INSERM U770

2. Univ Paris Sud, UMR_S 770

Correspondence to:
Cécile V. Denis
Tel: +33-149595605
Fax: +33-146719472
Email: cecile.denis@inserm.fr

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Abstract

Hemostasis and thrombosis represent two sides of the same coin. Hemostasis maintains blood fluidity in the vascular system while allowing for rapid thrombus formation to prevent excessive hemorrhage after blood vessel injury. Thrombosis is a pathologic extension of the normal hemostatic mechanism, occurring when unwanted clot formation develops in certain pathological situations. The molecular mechanisms underlying both phenomena are fundamentally identical. One of the key players in both processes is the plasma glycoprotein von Willebrand factor, which perfectly illustrates this duality between hemostatic and thrombotic mechanisms. The purpose of this review is to discuss novel findings on the role of von Willebrand factor at this interface, and how some of these findings may help develop new therapeutic strategies.

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