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Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 1992 Aug;3(4):439-49.

The present status of tissue factor pathway inhibitor.

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  • 1Haematological Research Laboratory, Aker University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is the factor Xa-dependent inhibitor of the factor VIIa/tissue factor complex. The plasma concentration of this 276 amino acid, 40 kDa glycoprotein is normally about 100 ng/ml. There are three intravascular pools of TFPI: 50-90% is on the endothelium, 10-50% is in plasma and less than 2.5% is in platelets. The TFPI in plasma is mainly associated with lipoproteins-only about 5% is free TFPI. The lipoprotein-associated TFPI seems to be of less anticoagulant effect than the free TFPI. Both unfractionated heparin, low-molecular-weight heparins and pentosan polysulphate induce release of TFPI after intravenous injection, whereas dermatan sulphate does not. The interactions with TFPI account for a considerable amount of the anticoagulant effect of heparin. Studies have shown increased TFPI levels in plasma from patients with advanced malignancy and in subjects with fatal DIC or septicaemia. The reason for this is unknown. For measuring the anticoagulant activity of TFPI in plasma, end-point or antigen assays may be less useful than the clotting assay with dilute tissue factor. Animal studies indicate that the main physiological role of TFPI is the inhibition of small amounts of tissue factor. TFPI is probably essential for a normal haemostatic balance.

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