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Von Willebrand factor (vWF) plasma levels can serve as useful biomarkers for traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly with regard to self-reported postconcussive symptoms and the risk of hospitalization. This is based on research submitted to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, April 17-22.
Increased expression of endothelial cell-derived vWF has previously been linked to vascular and neurodegenerative forms of dementia, with studies suggesting the role of vWF as a biomarker for cerebrovascular pathology. A total of 13.5 million people in the US are at increased risk of disability related to TBI. Therefore, serum vWF can be a useful biomarker for its prognosis and treatment.
In the current study, the researchers measured plasma vWF levels in 17 professional boxers between the ages of 18 and 35 both before and after boxing matches. Participants had a Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ-3) score of at least 1 with 25 or more previous head blows. The data from these boxers were compared with the plasma vWF levels in 42 patients who presented to a trauma center with TBI versus 23 uninjured controls.
The researchers observed a 1.8-fold increase in vWF levels over a 30 minute period after boxing matches (P <0.0009). The change in folding in the vWF correlated moderately with the number of head blows (r = 0.51; P = 0.03). In addition, there was a significant correlation between changes in folding in the vWF and self-reported postconcussive symptoms (r = 0.69; P = 0.002), measured with the RPQ-3.
The researchers observed a significant increase in serum vWF levels in the TBI patient group in the hospital compared to the control group (mean 73.2 ± 31.5 versus 40.8 ± 12.4 mg / ml; P <0.0001).
The researchers concluded that vWF has a known role, “in microthrombosis it is an attractive candidate biomarker for traumatic microvascular injury.”
Thomas R., Gatson J., Silverman E. et al. von Willebrand factor (vWF) as a biomarker for traumatic brain injuries. Virtual annual conference AAN 2021; 17.-22. April 2021. Abstract S26.005
AAN 2021 General Neurological Traumatic Brain Injury