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Functional evaluation of an inherited abnormal fibrinogen: fibrinogen “Baltimore”

Eugene A. Beck, John R. Shainoff, Alfred Vogel and Dudley P. Jackson

Department of Medicine of the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21205Department of Medicine, University and Bürgerspital, Basel, SwitzerlandThe Research Division of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44106Central Institute for Electron Microscopy of the University, Zurich, Switzerland

Published September 1971

The rate of clotting and the rate of development and degree of turbidity after addition of thrombin to plasma or purified fibrinogen from a patient with fibrinogen Baltimore was delayed when compared with normal, especially in the presence of low concentrations of thrombin. Optimal coagulation and development of translucent, rather than opaque, clots occurred at a lower pH with the abnormal fibrinogen than with normal. Development of turbidity during clotting of the abnormal plasma or fibrinogen was less than normal at each pH tested, but was maximal in both at approximately pH 6.4. The physical quality of clots formed from fibrinogen Baltimore was abnormal, as demonstrated by a decreased amplitude on thromboelastography. The morphologic appearance of fibrin strands formed from fibrinogen Baltimore by thrombin at pH 7.4 was abnormal when examined by phase contrast or electron microscopy, but those formed by thrombin at pH 6.4 or by thrombin and calcium chloride were similar to, though less compact, than normal fibrin. The periodicity of fibrin formed from fibrinogen Baltimore was similar to normal and was 231-233 Å.

A study of the release of the fibrinopeptides from the patient's fibrinogen and its chromatographic subfractions verified the existence of both a normally behaving and a defective form of fibrinogen in the patient's plasma. The defective form differed from normal in three functionally different ways: (a) the rate of release of fibrinopeptides A and AP was slower than normal; (b) no visible clot formation accompanied either partial or complete release of the fibrinopeptides from the defective form in 0.3 M NaCl at pH 7.4; and (c) the defective component possessed a high proportion of phosphorylated, relative to nonphosphorylated, fibrinopeptide A, while the coagulable component contained very little of the phosphorylated peptide (AP). The high phosphate content of the defective component did not appear to be the cause of the abnormality, but may be the result of an associated metabolic or genetic phenomenon.

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