The binding of thrombin to fibrin is thought to be an important mechanism by which thrombi exhibit procoagulant activity; however, the extent to which other procoagulants are associated with thrombi has not been previously defined. This study was designed to determine whether clotting factors other than thrombin are bound to whole-blood clots and can thereby contribute to significant procoagulant activity. Clots formed in vitro from human blood exhibited minimal thrombin activity when incubated in plasma depleted of vitamin K-dependent factors by barium-citrate adsorption, as indicated by increases in the concentration of fibrinopeptide A (FPA), a marker of fibrin formation, to 72 nM after 30 min. Incubation of clots in barium-absorbed plasma repleted with 0.9 microM human prothrombin under the same conditions resulted in marked increases in the concentration of FPA (> 1,000 nM) and clotting by 30 min. The increases in FPA were attributable to activation of the added prothrombin by clot-associated Factor Xa, judging from concomitant increases in the concentration of prothrombin fragment 1.2. Similar results were obtained with thrombi induced in the axillary arteries of dogs by vascular injury and incubated with plasma in vitro. Activation of prothrombin was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by tick anticoagulant peptide, a direct inhibitor of Factor Xa, at concentrations of 0.5-5.0 microM. Clot-associated Factor Xa activity was resistant to inhibition by anti-thrombin III, judging from the lack of inhibition of prothrombin activation during incubation of clots in plasma containing heparin pentasaccharide, an anti-thrombin III-mediated inhibitor of Factor Xa. Thus, the activity of Factor Xa appears to be an important determinant of the procoagulant activity of whole-blood clots and arterial thrombi, and is resistant to inhibition by anti-thrombin III-dependent inhibitors.
P R Eisenberg, J E Siegel, D R Abendschein, J P Miletich