OBJECTIVES: We investigated immunoreactive von Willebrand factor (vWF), a platelet adhesion molecule, in the endocardial endothelium and its relationship to thrombogenesis in the human atrial appendage. BACKGROUND: Intra-atrial thrombogenesis is generally thought to be induced by blood stasis in the atrial appendage involved with atrial fibrillation (AF). Little attention has been paid to alterations of the endocardial endothelium on which the thrombus develops. METHODS: Atrial appendage tissue was obtained at heart surgery or at autopsy from AF and non-AF cardiac patients and from noncardiac patients. Immunohistochemistry for endothelial cell markers including vWF, CD31, CD34 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and platelet glycoprotein Ib/IX or IIb/IIIa was performed and semiquantitatively graded. RESULTS: In contrast to the apparent immunostaining for CD31, CD34 and eNOS, only focal or little immunoreactive vWF was seen in the endocardium of noncardiac patients. Immunoreactive vWF in the endocardial endothelium was increased in most cardiac patients, particularly in the left, but not in the right, atrial appendage of patients with mitral valvular disease, irrespective of whether AF was present. Platelet adhesion/thrombus formation in the endocardium was found in limited sites in which the overlying endothelium was deficient in eNOS and CD34. When warfarin-treated cases were excluded, there was a significant correlation between the immunohistochemical grade for vWF and the degree of platelet adhesion/thrombus formation in the endocardium. CONCLUSIONS: Immunoreactive vWF in the endocardial endothelium was increased in overloaded human atrial appendage, which may be a local predisposing factor for intraatrial thrombogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine