14 November 2022

A new role for a blood clotting protein has been identified, offering promise for treatments for people with inflammatory and blood clotting disorders, researchers have reported.

A team at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, found that von Willebrand Factor (VWF) plays an important role in regulating immune responses at sites of blood vessel injury.

This, they write in Nature Communications, shows for the first time that VWF not only regulates blood clotting at the site of damage but also triggers local immune responses.

This new understanding could help researchers develop new treatment options for patients with inflammatory and blood clotting disorders, such as von Willebrand Disease, deep vein thrombosis and myocardial infarction.

Lead author Professor James O’Donnell, director of the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology at RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, said: “For more than 50 years, it has been known that von Willebrand factor plays a key role in preventing bleeding by acting as a glue at the site of injury.

“This research now helps us to further understand the role that VWF plays in linking blood coagulation and inflammation and thereby paves the way for the development of new treatments.”



Drakeford C, Aguila S, Roche F, Hokamp K, Fazavana J, Cervantes MP, Curtis AM, Hawerkamp HC, Dhami SPS, Charles-Messance H, Hackett EE, Chion A, Ward S, Ahmad A, Schoen I, Breen E, Keane J, Murphy R, Preston RJS, O'Sullivan JM, Sheedy FJ, Fallon P, O'Donnell JS. (2022) “von Willebrand factor links primary hemostasis to innate immunity.” Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33796-7

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33796-7

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