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Blood. 1992 Jun 1;79(11):2930-6.

An atherogenic stimulus homocysteine inhibits cofactor activity of thrombomodulin and enhances thrombomodulin expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology on Genetic Disease, Mie University School of Medicine, Tsu City, Japan.


Thrombomodulin plays a role as a cofactor for thrombin-catalyzed activation of protein C on endothelial cells. We examined the effect of homocysteine, a stimulant of atherosclerosis and thrombotic disease, on the cofactor activity and protein level of thrombomodulin and also on the expression of thrombomodulin in endothelial cells. Homocysteine inhibited the cofactor activity of thrombomodulin both on the surface of endothelial cells and in the whole cells dose- and time-dependently, and maximal inhibition of the cofactor activity occurred after a 3- to 6-hour incubation with 10 mmol/L homocysteine (10% of initial activity). Homocysteine also decreased the amount of intact (unreduced) thrombomodulin in endothelial cells. However, at the same condition the total protein level (reduced and unreduced form) of thrombomodulin, determined by dot immunoblot analysis using the monoclonal antibody that recognized both reduced and unreduced thrombomodulin, decreased slightly, and the mRNA level of thrombomodulin showed a twofold to three-fold increase. After 24 hours of incubation, the cofactor activity and total protein level of thrombomodulin were 60% and 165% of the initial values, respectively. When purified thrombomodulin fixed to a microwell plate was treated with homocysteine, both cofactor activity and thrombin-binding ability to the thrombomodulin were decreased in proportion to the concentration of homocysteine. These findings suggest that homocysteine directly inhibited the cofactor activity of thrombomodulin on endothelial cells by reducing the disulfide-bond rich epidermal growth factor-like structures of thrombomodulin. This would a result in the decrease of the antithrombotic property of endothelium and may also trigger off the synthesis of mRNA and protein of thrombomodulin to maintain the antithrombotic properties of the cells.

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