Two in vitro systems were used to identify an antithrombin III cofactor activity on vascular endothelium. Langendorff rat heart preparations or columns packed with endothelium cultured on microcarrier beads were perfused with mixtures of purified thrombin and antithrombin III. With each preparation, accelerated inhibition of thrombin by antithrombin III occurred during passage over endothelium. Platelet factor 4, protamine sulfate and diisopropylphosphoryl thrombin, all antagonists of the antithrombin III cofactor activity of heparin, significantly reduced the capacity of the preparation to inhibit thrombin. It is concluded that a substance with the functional properties of a stationary phase cofactor for antithrombin III is present on the microvascular endothelium and there catalyzes the inactivation of circulating free thrombin.
C Busch, W G Owen