The Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor protein was characterized in two unrelated patients with von Willebrand's disease in whom procoagulant and Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor antigen levels were normal. In both patients evidence of an abnormal protein was observed on crossed antigen-antibody electrophoresis. In one patient the Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor protein eluted from Sepharose 4B in a position and distribution identical to normal with normal levels of procoagulant activity and antigen. However, the partially purified Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor protein had markedly reduced von Willebrand factor activity in a ristocetin assay. In the second patient the peak of Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor protein, antigen, and procoagulant activity eluted from a Sepharose 4B column with an estimated molecular weight of approximately half that of normal. This protein had no von Willebrand factor activity. In both patients the reduced Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor protein subunit was indistinguishable from normal on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. These studies indicate that in some patients with von Willebrand's disease there is a qualitative defect of the Factor VII/von Willebrand factor protein; the total amount of protein, antigen, and procoagulant activity are normal while the von Willebrand factor activity is deficient.
H R Gralnick, B S Coller, Y Sultan