Intraluminal thrombus formation precipitates conditions such as acute myocardial infarction and disturbs local blood flow resulting in areas of rapidly changing blood flow velocities and steep gradients of blood shear rate. Shear rate gradients are known to be pro-thrombotic with an important role for the shear-sensitive plasma protein von Willebrand factor (VWF). Here, we developed a single-chain antibody (scFv) that targets a shear gradient specific conformation of VWF to specifically inhibit platelet adhesion at sites of SRGs but not in areas of constant shear. Microfluidic flow channels with stenotic segments were used to create shear rate gradients during blood perfusion. VWF-GPIbα interactions were increased at sites of shear rate gradients compared to constant shear rate of matched magnitude. The scFv-A1 specifically reduced VWF-GPIbα binding and thrombus formation at sites of SRGs but did not block platelet deposition and aggregation under constant shear rate in upstream sections of the channels. Significantly, the scFv A1 attenuated platelet aggregation only in the later stages of thrombus formation. In the absence of shear, direct binding of scFv-A1 to VWF could not be detected and scFV-A1 did not inhibit ristocetin induced platelet agglutination. We have exploited the pro-aggregatory effects of SRGs on VWF dependent platelet aggregation and developed the shear-gradient sensitive scFv-A1 antibody that inhibits platelet aggregation exclusively at sites of shear rate gradients. The lack of VWF inhibition in non-stenosed vessel segments places scFV-A1 in an entirely new class of anti-platelet therapy for selective blockade of pathological thrombus formation while maintaining normal haemostasis.
- von Willebrand Factor
- shear stress gradients