The natural cell type(s) that synthesize and release factor VIII (FVIII) into the circulation are still not known with certainty. In vitro studies indicate that artificial expression of FVIII in endothelial cells produces an intracellular pool of FVIII that can be mobilized together with its carrier protein, von Willebrand factor (VWF), by agonists. Here, we show that expression of human B-domain deleted FVIII (hFVIII) in the vascular endothelium of otherwise FVIII-deficient mice results in costorage of FVIII and VWF in endothelial Weibel-Palade bodies and restores normal levels and activity of FVIII in plasma. Stored FVIII was mobilized into the circulation by subcutaneous administration of epinephrine. Human FVIII activity in plasma was strictly dependent on the presence of VWF. Endothelial-specific expression of hFVIII rescued the bleeding diathesis of hemophilic mice lacking endogenous FVIII. This hemostatic function of endothelial cell-derived hFVIII was suppressed in the presence of anti-FVIII inhibitory antibodies. These results suggest that targeting FVIII expression to endothelial cells may establish a releasable pool of FVIII and normalize plasma FVIII level and activity in hemophilia A, but does not prevent the inhibitory effect of anti-FVIII antibodies on the hemostatic function of transgene-derived hFVIII as is seen with platelet-derived FVIII expression.
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