Thrombotic thrombocytopenia with von Willebrand factor deficiency induced by botrocetin. An animal model

W. E. Sanders, M. S. Read, R. L. Reddick, J. B. Garris, K. M. Brinkhous

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47 Scopus citations


Thrombotic thrombocytopenia with severe von Willebrand factor (vWF) depletion was induced in rats by intraperitoneal injection of botrocetin, a Bothrops factor requiring vWF for platelet aggregation. The vWF deficiency state with thrombocytopenia was produced in 12 animals by single or multiple injections of botrocetin. Single botrocetin injection (450 units/kg) reduced plasma vWF activity to <0.01 μ/ml for 24 hours and <0.2 units/ml up to 72 hours. During this period, multimeric analysis of plasma vWF:Ag revealed loss of intermediate and high molecular weight forms. A moderate reduction in vWF:Ag (Laurell) and FVIII:C was observed. Bleeding time remained prolonged during the deficiency state. Recovery of plasma vWF and platelet count occurred in 4 to 5 days. Multiple botrocetin injections (450 units/kg/injection) at 48-hour intervals produced a sustained severe vWF depletion (<0.2 units/ml) for 1 week. On the 8th day, vWF and platelet count had recovered to preinjection levels. Recovery was associated with the appearance of increased levels of very high molecular weight multimers of vWF:Ag in the plasma. After each botrocetin administration (single or repeat), a transient thrombocytopenia developed which was most severe at 1 to 5 hours postinjection. Another group of 10 animals was given a single botrocetin injection and specimens of lung, liver, kidney, and spleen were obtained at varying time intervals postinjection. Transmission electron micrographs of the lung and spleen 2 hours after botrocetin administration showed platelet aggregates and platelet microthrombi in the lung and spleen. The platelet thrombi in the lung had disappeared within 24 hours, and in the spleen by 48 hours. Liver sinusoids and kidney glomeruli were free of thrombi. A comparison is made of the thrombocytopenia and the ultrastructure of the platelet microthrombi induced by botrocetin with that of other agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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