We have examined the plasma Factor VIII/von Willebrand factor (FVIII/vWF) molecule from 16 patients with von Willebrand's disease, and have found no evidence of a significant decrease of carbohydrate content in 15 of these patients. FVIII/vWF was isolated by preparative counter immunoelectrophoresis directly from plasma using antibody to Factor VIII-related antigen, reduced in sodium dodecyl sulfate in the presence of urea, and electrophoresed in 5% polyacrylamide gels to separate the FVIII/vWF subunit from other proteins. Duplicate gels were stained by either the periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) reaction or by Coomassie Brilliant Blue G250. The ratio of Coomassie: PAS was determined by spectrophotometric scanning of the gels. Transferrin was used as an internal reference standard. The ratio for 23 normal individuals was 2.4±0.38 and the observed range was 1.8-3.8. 15 patients with von Willebrand's disease fell within this range. One patient independently reported as having decreased FVIII/vWF carbohydrate was also studied by this technique. A ratio of 6.8 was found, indicative of decreased, though not absent, carbohydrate. Cold insoluble globulin did not represent a significant contaminant in these analyses. 11 of the von Willebrand's disease patients with normal FVIII/vWF carbohydrate had abnormal crossed immunoelectrophoretic patterns characterized by absence of the less anodic forms of Factor VIII-related antigen. Four patients had normal patterns. These studies indicate that an absence or decrease of PAS reactive FVIII/vWF carbohydrate is not a consistent abnormality in von Willebrand's disease.
T. S. Zimmerman, R. Voss, T. S. Edgington