Samples of apparently normal skin from one patient with von Willebrand's disease (vWD) and five patients without vWD were examined with fluorescein-tagged antiserum to the component of factor VIII required for aggregation of platelets by ristocetin (VIII-R.A.F.). No evidence of VIII-R.A.F. was found in the vWD skin, while bright granules were seen on and/or in the endothelial cells of dermal capillaries in all patients without vWD. VIII-R.A.F. granules were also found in the interstitial vasculature of all of twelve renal-biopsy specimens from patients without vWD. These observations support the concept that an abnormality of the vascular endothelium is involved in the pathogenesis of vWD.
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