The contact phase of intrinsic clotting involves Factor XI, Factor XII, Fletcher factor, and a fourth activity that we call contact activation cofactor (CAC). All four of these activities are reduced or absent in Dicalite-adsorbed plasma. A modified activated partial thromboplastin time assay for CAC has been defined by using a substrate of Dicalite-adsorbed plasma combined with partially purified sources of Factors XI and XII, and Fletcher factor. The following properties of CAC in plasma have been determined by using the assay: it is stable up to 60 min at 56 degrees C; gradually loses activity at 80 degrees C; is stable between pH 6 and 9; is precipitated by ammonium sulfate between 40% and 50% saturation; is slightly adsorbed by A1(OH)3; and is eluted from DEAE-cellulose after the major protein peaks. A purification procedure has been devised that separates CAC from other known clotting factors. Isolated CAC was less stable than CAC in plasma, but in the presence of dilute human serum albumin it retained full activity for 80 min at 56 degrees C. On gel filtration CAC had an apparent mol wt of 220,000 daltons. These properties are consistent with those described for Fitzgerald factor, which further supports the conclusion that CAC and Fitzgerald factor represent the same activity. Isolated CAC promoted the generation of activated Factor XI (XIa) in a mixture containing purified Factor XI, Factor XII, and kaolin. The amount of Factor XIa generated was proportional to the amount of added CAC. No time-consuming reaction between Factor XI or Factor XII and CAC could be demonstrated.
S Schiffman, P Lee