Tissue factor occurs in a dormant state on the surface of cultured normal human fibroblasts and WISH 1 amnion cells. The activity of undisturbed monolayers or cells lifted with brief trypsin treatment (0.125 per cent trypsin for 1 min) increases up to 60-fold upon prolonged digestion with dilute trypsin (0.0025 per cent trypsin for 30 min); activity appears subsequent to cell detachment. Up to 70 per cent of the total cellular tissue factor becomes active under these conditions and is released from the cells. The ruthenium red staining coat of the cells is lost during detachment, but cell viability (more than 90 per cent exclude trypan blue) and cell morphology do not change during the subsequent development of tissue factor activity. Furthermore, less than 10 percent of four intracellular enzymes and less than 20 per cent of two plasma membrane enzymes are released during this period of time. We therefore conclude that cells in culture do have tissue factor activity, that it exists in a latent form, and that total cell disruption is not necessary for this activity to initiate blood coagulation.
J R Maynard, C A Heckman, F A Pitlick, Y Nemerson