In a long-term prospective study, five normal control pigs and five pigs with homozygous von Willebrand's disease received a nonfatty diet from age 3 months to 4 years; then the aortas were analyzed. The fibrous arteriosclerotic plaques in the distal abdominal aortic region involved an average of 28% of the surface area in control pigs and only 7% of the surface area in pigs with von Willebrand's disease (P<0.01). In a subsequent study of 3-month-old pigs, the distal abdominal aortic segments from nine normal pigs were cross-transplanted with segments from nine other normal pigs (control study), and aortic segments from four normal pigs were transplanted into four host pigs with von Willebrand's disease (exchange study). All pigs received a 2% cholesterol diet for up to 6 months; then the transplanted aortic segments were analyzed. The donor normal aortic segments in the host normal pigs developed arteriosclerosis that involved an average of 20% of the surface; the endothelial fluorescent pattern of von Willebrand factor was identified. In contrast, the donor normal aortic segments in the host pigs with von Willebrand's disease had arteriosclerosis that involved an average of only 4% of the surface (P<0.01); the endothelial cell von Willebrand factor was not identified. The long-term prospective study indicates that pigs with von Willebrand's disease are resistant to the development of spontaneous arteriosclerosis. The aortic transplantation data are compatible with the hypothesis that the absence of von Willebrand factor in pigs with von Willebrand's disease may cause impairment of platelet-arterial wall interaction and resistance to arteriosclerosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine