AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Subjects with blood type O have lower concentration of von Willebrand factor (VWF) than those with type A, B or AB. Since we recently observed that laboratory signs of marked hypercoagulability are compatible with health and longevity in Italian centenarians, we determined VWF and blood groups in healthy centenarians to see whether levels of this marker of endothelial perturbation were altered and whether its correlation with blood groups was similar to that among the general population. DESIGN AND METHODS: In 74 centenarians and in 110 controls (55<45 years old; 55>45 years old), we studied VWF antigen (VWF:Ag), ristocetin co-factor activity (VWF:Rco), multimeric pattern of VWF and cleaving protease (VWF:CP), and plasmin-antiplasmin complexes (PAP). RESULTS: The levels of VWF:Ag and VWF:Rco in centenarians were significantly higher than in controls without significant difference between blood group O or non-O. Fifty-one percent of centenarians have a reduction of the relative proportion of high molecular weight multimers (HMV); furthermore VWF:CP was lower and PAP significantly higher than in young controls. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: The loss of large VWF multimers in 51% of centenarians could depend on degradation protease(s) in the circulation. VWF, a well-known independent predictor of atherothrombotic disease, was increased in centenarians, independently of the blood group, confirming the previous results of a state of hypercoagulability. The finding that the VWF:CP levels are low when VWF levels are high in centenarians could be a corollary of the previous described paradox of successful aging, adding another marker of increased risk of atherothrombosis to the scenario.
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Vol. 88 No. 1 (2003): January, 2003 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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