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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 1, 1991; 88(3): 708–712.

Depletion of extrinsic pathway inhibitor (EPI) sensitizes rabbits to disseminated intravascular coagulation induced with tissue factor: evidence supporting a physiologic role for EPI as a natural anticoagulant.


Although in vitro experiments have established that extrinsic pathway inhibitor (EPI) is the only known plasma inhibitor of factor VIIa-tissue factor (TF) catalytic activity of potential physiologic significance, evidence of its function in vivo has been lacking. TF-induced intravascular coagulation may occur in patients despite normal plasma levels of EPI and, in our earlier studies, normal plasma EPI levels did not protect rabbits from intravascular coagulation induced by an infusion of purified TF (1 microgram/kg). Studies have now been carried out in which plasma EPI levels were reduced in rabbits to below 20% of the initial level by injection of anti-rabbit EPI IgG. Infusion into such animals of purified rabbit TF apoprotein (0.25 microgram/kg) reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles induced substantial disseminated intravascular coagulation. Infusion of control saline or phospholipid vesicles not containing TF was without significant effect as was infusion of TF (0.25 microgram/kg) into animals injected with nonimmune goat IgG. These data establish that EPI can dampen TF-induced intravascular coagulation in rabbits. They support the hypothesis that EPI plays a significant role in regulating coagulation resulting from the exposure of blood to trace concentrations of TF during the illnesses and minor injuries of normal existence.

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